AS part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Ceredigion County Council have continued to work together to put in place and closely monitor arrangements to test people who are showing symptoms of the virus.
To make sure testing can continue to take place safely and effectively, the testing facility in Aberystwyth is moving from its current temporary venue (Plascrug Leisure Centre) to Canolfan Rheidol as a drive-through facility (through a booked appointment) for people displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
This change will come into effect on Wednesday 26 August 2020.
In addition, a multi-use facility inside Plascrug Leisure Centre will be used by the health board for testing asymptomatic patients (someone who does not have symptoms of COVID-19) who are coming into hospital for an operation or procedure, as well as some antibody testing, phlebotomy, vaccination and a one-stop clinic for pre-chemotherapy patients.
Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We are sincerely grateful to the local community and our partners for helping to protect and support each other during this challenging time.
“This change is part of the health board and Ceredigion County Council’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the testing arrangements we have in place are safe and appropriate, as well as being fit for purpose as we approach the winter months.
“We wish to thank local people for their understanding and co-operation and we will provide further updates as and when arrangements change.”
Eifion Evans, Ceredigion County Council’s Chief Executive, said: “Ceredigion County Council has committed all available resources to the partnership in an attempt to ensure the citizens of Ceredigion can access all Covid-19 related support locally. These facilities will provide the same level of provision and support as any other region in Wales.”
People are urged to remain vigilant and not to relax the measures already in place, such as maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene, to help us live and work alongside the virus whilst containing its spread.
Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) can book a test online at www.gov.wales/coronavirus or by calling the free number 119 (between 7am-11pm). People with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119.
Critical workers, such as those in health and social care, local authorities, police, fire, education, food, retail, transport, public services, and unpaid carers, can book a test if they have symptoms by contacting the local Covid Enquiries team direct on 0300 303 8322 or by emailing CovidEnquiries.firstname.lastname@example.org (please note this is for critical workers only, not members of the public).
Please do not turn up without booking first as it will not be possible to accommodate you without an appointment.
Alongside the testing arrangements, the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service is now well underway across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to track the virus and will give extra protection to our communities. Hywel Dda University Health Board and all three local authorities are working extremely hard together to help our local communities continue to live and work alongside the virus whilst containing its spread.
Anyone who has been in contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 may be contacted as part of this and asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days, and to request a test if they show any symptoms of the virus. A contact advisor will get in touch with the individual to provide advice and support.
Members of the public are reminded that official information and advice about coronavirus is available from https://phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus
If you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot cope at home or if your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, use the 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call 111. In a medical emergency, dial 999.
For the latest news and updates from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit www.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk
Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament
A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.
During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.
Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.
Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.
“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.
“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”
While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.
Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list
Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.
He has been awarded a BEM.
Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.
His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.
His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.
He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.
Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’
Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.
Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’
Temporary closure of Minor Injuries Unit in Cardigan confirmed
AS PART of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board says it has temporarily closed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Cardigan in order to redeploy clinical staff to support the COVID 19 response within Ceredigion.
The MIU, which is based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and normally operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will temporarily close with immediate effect. The situation will be under constant review and normal service will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
In the meantime, minor injuries help and advice is available as follows:
– visit the 111 symptom checker (https://111.wales.nhs.uk/)
– visit your local pharmacy
– call 111
– please do NOT self-present to the GP reception in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre as they do not deal with minor injuries.
– for emergency care the A+E departments are as follows:
· Glangwili Hospital A+E Carmarthen SA32 2AF
· Bronglais Hospital A+E Aberystwyth SY23 1ER
· Withybush Hospital A+E Haverfordwest SA61 2PZ