In the seven days up to 1 January 2021, there has been a total of 3,591 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire (equivalent to a weekly rate of 519.2 per 100,000 residents). This is an increase from 2,190 new cases in the previous seven days ending 25 December (equivalent to a weekly rate of 316.6 per 100,000 residents).
Further information is available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stopthespread.
National lockdown restrictions announced this week by government mean people in Oxfordshire and elsewhere must stay at home.
A reminder of the measures:
You must stay at home, except for a legally permitted reason. This includes activities such as essential shopping, education and childcare, work which cannot be done from home, medical needs, exercise, and communal worship.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should stay local in the village, town or part of the city where you live.
You must not meet socially with family or friends, unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
You can leave your home to exercise once a day. You can exercise in a public outdoor place with members of your household or support bubble or, when you are on your own, with one person from another household.
Primary, secondary and special schools will remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. Remote working will take place for all other children until February half term. End of year exams will not take place this summer.
Early years settings such as childminders and nurseries can stay open.
Higher education provision will remain online until mid-February for all courses, except those for future critical workers such as medicine and dentistry.
Pubs, restaurants, and non-essential shops and businesses must close, although hospitality venues can provide delivery and takeaway services – but not takeaway alcohol.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. They should not attend work.
If you have any coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and call 119 to book a test or register online. And if you have been abroad to a country that is not on the exemption list then you must, by law, self-isolate for 10 days.
There is more information about the new restrictions on gov.uk and a comprehensive list of resident FAQs about lockdown restrictions in Oxfordshire is available on our website.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people
Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments. If they cannot work from home, they are advised not to go to work and can claim any support where eligible. They should be receiving a letter from the Department of Health and Social Care to advise them, but should follow the advice set out in the shielding section of the CEV guidance.
COVID-19 vaccination programme
In positive news, the first vaccinations using the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday signalled another key milestone in our fight against the pandemic. It was wonderful to see the first doses of a vaccine that had been developed in Oxford delivered at the city’s Churchill Hospital.
The Oxford vaccine represents a major addition to the UK’s vaccination programme, which continues at pace with almost 1.5 million people in the UK having now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. In Oxfordshire, 18 GP-led vaccination sites and one hospital hub are now delivering the vaccine to our most vulnerable residents and frontline health and social care workers (a more detailed vaccination update is below). I am delighted to report that, as of Wednesday this week, 22 per cent of care home residents and 23 per cent of care home staff in the county have received the vaccine.
By the end of next week (15 January), 22 sites across Oxfordshire will be offering vaccinations to the top two priority groups. Good progress has been made in vaccinating approximately one third of residents aged 80 and over so far.
The first vaccinations were delivered to patients (aged 80 and over), care workers and frontline NHS staff on 8 December at the Churchill Hospital. Since then vaccination services have opened in a phased approach, led by GPs, across the following primary care network sites:
• Chipping Norton Health Centre
• Hart Surgery, Henley
• Banbury Cross Health Centre
• Malthouse Surgery, Abingdon
• Bartlemas Surgery, Oxford
• Jericho Health Centre, Oxford
• Barton Neighbourhood Centre
• Windrush Health Centre, Witney
• Leys Health Centre, Oxford
• Wallingford Community Hospital
• Morland House Surgery, Thame
• Clifton Hampden Centre
• The Heritage Centre, Bicester
• Kennington Health Centre
• Didcot Civic Hall
• Islip Medical Practice
• Cherwell School, Oxford
• Wantage Health Centre.
The final three sites will start vaccinations next week in Carterton, Faringdon and the Grimsbury area of Banbury. Plans are also underway for the Oxfordshire Vaccination Centre to be operational by the end of January, which will be the Oxfordshire site for mass vaccinations and provided by Oxford Health.
Our local NHS is working hard to deliver the vaccinations as quickly as they can and as quickly as supplies of the vaccine are made available. Because a phased approach is being taken, some people are waiting longer than others. Everyone in the priority groups, registered with an Oxfordshire GP practice, will be invited in due course. We would be very grateful for your continued support in asking residents to be patient and to reassure them that they will be invited for a vaccination as soon as possible.
COVID-19 vaccine scam
Residents to be on their guard against scammers using the promise of a coronavirus vaccine to con them out of money. Criminals across the country are contacting people out of the blue with offers of a coronavirus vaccination. These approaches have been made by text or from a recorded voice message on the telephone.
In each case the recipient is required to respond by clicking a link in the text message or by pressing 1 when receiving the call. They are then asked to give personal information, as well as financial details to book their vaccination. However, these are scams, with criminals exploiting the pandemic to attempt to steal personal details and people’s money.
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to people most at risk from coronavirus. These people will be contacted by the NHS. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine scam and advice from trading standards is in our news story.
This week the Chancellor announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the spring. A £594 million discretionary fund was also made available, at a national level, to support other impacted businesses and this comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for local authorities, local restriction support grants worth up to £3,000 a month and the extension of the furlough scheme. To read more about the Chancellor’s announcement visit GOV.UK.
The government’s business support webpages also set out the COVID-19 support available to businesses such as loan schemes designed to support UK businesses that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the pandemic.