People in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot are being urged to keep socially distancing and get their Covid-19 vaccination as soon as they’re called, because Coronavirus hasn’t gone away.
In fact, cases of the Indian variant – which is believed to have a higher infection rate – have now been confirmed in the Swansea Bay area.
Even though lockdown restrictions are easing and people have more freedom to enjoy indoor hospitality, time hasn’t yet been called on the virus.
Swansea Bay University Health Board Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid, warned that Covid was still out there, despite the number of infections and hospital admissions being well down on their January second peak. The risk of infection was still very real, particularly among those who haven’t yet received the protection of their first vaccine dose, he said.
“Covid hasn’t gone away and now that people are socialising indoors in pubs and restaurants, and other indoor activities have restarted, it is very likely that we will see infection rates creeping up again. Covid thrives on close contact, particularly among those who haven’t been vaccinated.
“We now have a small number of confirmed cases of B.1.617.2 (the variant of concern that was first detected in India) in the Swansea Bay region, which is a worry as it looks like this variant spreads more easily.
“Our testing and tracing teams are working hard to prevent it being spread further, but people should be aware that we’re not out of the woods yet, and continue to take all precautions.”
Dr Reid advised people to carry on handwashing, to keep a safe distance from people they don’t live with, and wear face-coverings in indoor public places. They should also get tested if they have any classic Covid-19 symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell, or if they have flu-like symptoms or feel unwell with other symptoms which are unusual for them.
“It is also much safer to be outdoors in the fresh air than inside a building where Covid viruses can circulate more easily,” he added.
“So even though pubs and restaurants are now serving inside, please still consider choosing a table outside, particularly if you or one of your group have not been vaccinated.
“Vaccination remains a priority to helping us all get back to a normal life. So please do all you can to attend your vaccination appointment. People can also join our reserve list if they have missed an earlier appointment for any reason, or would like the opportunity to be offered a vaccination sooner.
“Our doors are open. We want to vaccinate every adult we are able to in Swansea Bay as soon as we can.”
(Lead image: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels.com)
Swansea professor’s COVID contribution recognised with new honour
A Swansea academic at the forefront of shaping our understanding of Covid-19 has received further recognition for his work in the field of data science.
This latest honour follows on from Professor Lyons becoming a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and being appointed OBE in the New Year’s honours.
The focus of his work is the use of routinely collected data to better understand factors that influence health and wellbeing and developing and evaluating interventions aimed to improve the health of the public. He has led some of the largest studies ever undertaken in this field and contributed to research surrounding the pandemic and its consequences at Wales, UK and European level.
Professor Lyons said he was delighted to have been recommended for membership of the prestigious Academia Europaea, which aims to encourage the highest possible standards in scholarship, research and education, and promote a better public understanding of the benefits of learning.
He said: “This honour is a recognition of the shared efforts and hard work of the various teams and partners I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. None more so than over the last two years, during the pandemic.
“Through the European Population Health Information Research Infrastructure (PHIRI) Project we’re developing research infrastructure to generate the best Covid-19 population health knowledge. The multi-disciplinary, One Wales working group provided crucial evidence to Welsh Government’s response to Covid community transmission and informed policy development across the UK.
“The International Covid-19 Data Alliance (ICODA) partnership with Health Data Research UK and the Bills Gates Foundation and others, is supporting a globally coordinated approach to tackling Covid and future threats.
“This has been an incredibly challenging period for us all and I’m enormously proud that these labours have been acknowledged and rewarded by this election.”
Professor Lyons now joins more than 5,000 other eminent, individual scientists and scholars, who cover a broad range of academic disciplines that include former Nobel Prize laureates, Turing Award recipients and Fields Medal winners.
(Lead image: Swansea University)
Health board lifts visiting restrictions at Glangwili and Withybush hospitals
Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed that restrictions for people visiting patients will be lifted in Glangwili and Withybush hospitals from Wednesday 20 July 2022.
Visiting to Bronglais Hospital, Prince Philip Hospital and community hospitals remain open, by appointment only.
The health board are advised that it will still be a requirement to wear masks in Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals.
Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, said: “Last week we had to make the decision to extend measures at Glangwili Hospital in addition to Withybush Hospital to reduce the risk to our patients and staff and we thank people for their support and co-operation.
“We can all continue to take protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to protect vulnerable people and the NHS.
“We strongly advise anyone in our locality who has the classic symptoms, or who suspects they may have COVID-19 to isolate and take an LFD test. If positive, we urge people to isolate – this will help you to rest and recover while protecting others from risk of transmission.”
(Lead image: Google Maps)
Mask wearing reinstated at Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital
Hywel Dda University Health Board have said that all staff and visitors to Prince Philip Hospital must wear face masks (unless exempt) with immediate effect following the latest review of prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.
This follows the decisions made last week to reinstate mask wearing at Glangwili Hospital and both mask wearing and visiting restrictions at Withybush Hospital.
The health board have said that visiting will continue in general at Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals following the latest review of case numbers but local ward restrictions are in place so please contact the ward to arrange your visit in advance
Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Wearing a surgical mask or face covering and keeping a physical distance when attending a hospital or medical facility will help protect our most vulnerable patients and service users.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support and efforts of our communities to stop the spread, particularly around more vulnerable people.
“These measures will be continually reviewed, and as soon as it is safe to do so, we will ease these restrictions.”
The health board is stressing the continued importance of the behaviours known to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and the different requirements in place in health and social care settings.
Mandy, added: “Isolating if we have symptoms of COVID-19, or other infectious diseases, is one of the most important things we can do to prevent the onward spread and break the chain of transmission.
“We strongly encourage anyone in our locality who has the classic symptoms, or who suspects they may have COVID-19 to isolate and take an LFD test. If positive, we urge people to continue with the same isolation guidance that has been in place – this will help you to rest and recover and protect others from risk of transmission.”
Later this week, the Welsh Government will update its vaccine strategy with details of the next booster dose in the autumn.
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Sir Frank Atherton said:
“The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. While the vaccine does not completely stop transmission it offers protection against serious illness and reduces the risk of hospitalisation.
“You can still get the vaccine if you haven’t had your full course, or you were too ill to get your spring booster and I would encourage parents to think about getting the vaccine for their children over the summer months to help minimise any disruption to their education during the autumn and winter terms.”
(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)
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