Support put in place by the Isle of Wight Council at the start of the first lockdown last March and which has continued ever since, will carry on for months ahead, even after the current national lockdown is lifted.
The authority has written to thousands of clinically extremely vulnerable people to remind them of what that includes.
The council’s helpline — 01983 823600 — is available for anyone who feels vulnerable, needs help because of lockdown or self-isolation, or who is alone with no local network of friends, family or neighbours and needs support. See the council’s website for details of opening times.
The council has also launched a new Telecheck service as part of its Wightcare offer, providing friendly chat and catch up social calls as well as welfare calls to check people are safe and well. For more information, call the team on 01983 821105 or email [email protected].
Additional information is also available on the Keep the Island Safe website, with sections on support and guidance, vaccinations, testing, self-isolation and prevention guidance. This includes links to many local organisations and businesses offering support such as Age UK Isle of Wight and Citizens Advice Isle of Wight, as well as practical support like ‘out and about’ cards to help people feel more confident as national pandemic restrictions ease.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable and have not already done so you can request priority access to supermarket delivery slots, you have until 31st March to register by visiting https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support.
The government has confirmed the participating supermarkets will continue to offer priority access until at least 21st June 2021. Some supermarkets may extend your priority access beyond this date.
Simon Bryant, the council’s director of public health, has said:
“While advice to shield is ending on 31 March we do understand it may take some time for people to adjust.
“We know that shielding has not been easy, and we would like to thank you for your efforts during this challenging time.
“We still recommend that you take precautions to protect yourself while the virus is still spreading in our communities. Continue to maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Remember, hands-face-space.
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“Also, continue to minimise the number of social interactions that you have. The fewer social interactions you have, the lower your risk of catching COVID-19.
“We want to reassure people who have been shielding for the last three months and those who are self-isolating that our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.
“We hope that in time the demand will reduce and that infection rates continue to fall, but while there is a need we will be there with partners to help.”