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Coronavirus update Wednesday 22nd April

Nationally as of 9am on 21 April, 397,670 people have been tested for Covid-19, of which 129,044 people tested positive. As of 5pm on 20 April of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 17,337 have sadly died. Locally, as at 4pm on 21 April, the number of confirmed cases within Leeds stood at 958. Sadly, the total number of reported deaths of people who tested positive with COVID-19 at LTHT up to 5pm on 20 April is 134.

On 20 April Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust confirmed that over 250 patients who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 have been safely discharged to continue their recovery at home. I pay triute to all the fantastic staff across our hospitals and care sector for the heroic work that they are doing.

Volunteer Response to coronavirus

Leeds City Council has worked with Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL) and other partners to provide a local response to the needs of the community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

  1. Neighbourliness: The work starts with encouraging neighbourliness, with local residents asked to look after friends, family and neighbours that know them and trust them. The more that we can encourage this aspect of volunteering, the more that we can focus the registered volunteers towards people that have more complex needs.

  2. Community Care Volunteer Programme: Together with Voluntary Action Leeds, Leeds City Council launched this programme so volunteers can shop for vulnerable residents and take on other basic tasks to provide support to them. The tasks generally do not require the volunteer to cross the threshold of the person they are helping. Nearly 8,000 volunteers have been registered and 4541 have been though an online induction programme.  To date, 3074 of the registered volunteers state that they possess a current DBS check with 2416 possessing an enhanced DBS check. These volunteers are able to perform more complex tasks including, where the volunteer is comfortable doing so, those tasks that involve crossing the threshold of someone’s home with additional PPE-based precautions in place. Active volunteers are being provided with specially-purposed Leeds City Council ID badges with their photograph and a letter from the Council for the person they are helping to call a phone number to check their validity.  Volunteers can register at doinggoodleeds.org.uk or call 0113 2977920. However, given the success of the recruitment campaign in Leeds to date, the registration process has been paused whilst we process the volunteers.

  3. Helpline: The coronavirus helpline has been launched with council employees responding to local residents, the contact number is 0113 378 1877. Requests are triaged, and where appropriate the service requests will be forwarded to the network of volunteer hubs created at ward level. This helpline is also taking calls from the Shielded Cohort/ Extremely Vulnerable group and providing practical support. Appropriately skilled staff volunteers from the council have been deployed to supplement the workforce already engaged in this work. The call line is averaging approximately 350 calls a day.

  4. Volunteer hubs: The council have put in place a local network of voluntary, third sector and faith organisations who can co-ordinate work at the local ward-based level. These range from small neighbourhood level organisations to larger third sector organisations and as a consequence they require varying degrees of support.  I am in touch regularly with all of our local organisations on the ground and providing support where necessary.

Headingley Councillors and Nurses Caps

People are making nurses caps for the NHS. Instructions as to how to make these caps can be seen here. The caps are delivered via the Headingley and Hyde Park Councillors who are delivering directly to the LGI.

Military Benefits for NHS staff

NHS staff get up every day and put their lives at risk. Whilst clapping them every week is a noble and important gesture, we must understand that they are at the front line of this battle and must have the same protection that we would give to any British military personnel who is sent to risk their lives abroad. I have been campaigning alongside Lib Dem MP Layla Moran for the Government o provide the same death in service benefits to NHS staff as those who serve on the front line during military engagements.

Parliament returns

Parliament returns this week with the first Prime Ministers Questions to take place today. As with most MPs, I am conducting my Parliamentary duties via video link. This week I have meetings with the Environmental Audit Committee as well as meeting with key stakeholders related to my new role as Shadow Minister for Tourism and Heritage.

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