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Coronavirus update Monday 6th April 2020

The current position on COVID cases in Leeds 272 and sadly 35 recorded deaths in hospital in Leeds.

Volunteering update

More than 6,000 people have come forward in Leeds. Volunteers are now being matched to the 33 core third sector organisations based in each ward. These are supporting Tier 1 (DBC checked) and Tier 2 (non-DBS checked) volunteers to provide support needs to individuals at a local level. Tier 3 volunteers such as local neighbour schemes are being encouraged to support this.

Shopping schemes

Asda and Morrisons have launched schemes that help vulnerable people who are self-isolating. They are providing Volunteer Shopping Cards, ideal for those who are self-isolating, which provides a contactless, safe and secure way to allow family/friends/volunteers to shop on their behalf and means no bank or credit card details are exchanged with the volunteer as well as removing any risk of handling cash. The card can be bought easily online and then emailed to the volunteer or printed out and left in a safe place for the volunteer to collect.  The volunteer uses the card in-store (by simply scanning the barcode) and can return the shopping in a safe place for the recipient.  Any change due is left on the card for future use and can be ‘topped-up’ if necessary.  See here for Morrisons (with an option for those not online from Monday 0333 335 0398) and here for Asda.

Business support

Grant payment to business has started and £80m will be paid out to local business in the next 2 weeks. For businesses who are currently in difficulty and who are requesting assistance, the Council is also putting a temporary stop on existing rates payments. If any company is in financial difficulty due to Covid-19 and is asking for assistance they should email business.rates@leeds.gov.uk.

Properties in Leeds who currently receive Small Business Rate Relief (all properties with a rateable value of up to £15,000) will be eligible for the £10,000 grant. There are approximately 10,000 properties in Leeds who will we qualify for this assistance, and this is provided to each property rather than each business. Properties in Leeds with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible

Rough sleepers

There is continued concern regarding rough sleepers and the increased risk to them during this time. Leeds City Council are continuing to work with partners to provide essential support to help rough sleepers and those with a street-based lifestyle including access to accommodation, food and tailored assistance. Anyone with concerns for the welfare of people on the street please contact 0113 245 9445.

Changes to referrals from GPs

Non-emergency GP referrals to hospitals have been suspended. This includes outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests for most conditions, some cancer services and non-urgent sight impairment issues. Emergency referrals will still happen. Those currently awaiting a referral is advised to await direct contact. For more details click here

Visiting suspended at city’s hospitals

You are probably already aware that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has suspended visiting times across all its hospitals. There are some exceptions: if the patient is receiving end of life care or if the visitor is a birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour. At Leeds Children’s Hospital, only one parent or appropriate adult can be with their child at any given time, and currently no other children will be able to visit.  Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has also suspended visiting times across all its hospitals. For those with family outside Leeds, similar restrictions are likely to be in force across hospitals in England.

LTHT has taken the difficult decision to suspend family viewings of adult patients who have died. This suspension does not include children who have died.

Bins and recycling

See the following from Leeds recycles, “If you’re getting out in the garden, remember that, due to Covid-19, brown bins aren’t being collected and we can’t open the household waste and recycling sites at the moment. If you’re mowing your grass, just leave it on the lawn (it’s better for it and gives you one less job to do raking it up). If you’re doing some heavy-duty pruning, compost it or pile it up in a corner. This weekend could also be a great time to get your compost heap started. Check your collection days for black and green bins (service running as usual) download the Leeds Bins app or go to http://leeds.gov.uk/mybinday . For email updates on our services – http://bit.ly/BinsEmail .”

Money Saving Expert

Martin Lewis of Money Saving expert is producing useful videos for people who have financial issues at this time. He is particularly informative regarding furlough rules. Please see this video  for zero hour contracts and this video or self-employment advice.

Pregnant women

Due to the relative unknown risks of COVID-19 on pregnancy, pregnant women are advised to treat themselves as high risk. If you fall into this category or you are an employer with pregnant women on your staff, please see this report on maternity rights.

Leeds Beckett University

Thank you to the University who have donated equipment and lab space for NHS use and are offering halls of residence space to key workers, as well as providing free parking in the Rose Bowl car park.

More tomorrow.

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