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Contact tracing in Wales extended until March 2022

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WALES’ successful test, trace, protect service, which has helped to reduce the spread of coronavirus, will be extended to next year, with a further injection of Welsh Government funding.

A further £32m will be invested to extend contact tracing to March 2022.

The latest figures show that almost a year after TTP was launched in Wales, contact tracers have reached 99.7% of the positive cases that were eligible for follow up.

They successfully contacted almost 95% of the close contacts that were eligible for follow up, and provided them with advice, or helped to resolve their cases.

And local authorities have also approved more than 12,500 self-isolation support payments to help people to stay at home and reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading in their local communities.

Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan said:

“Test, Trace, Protect has been extremely effective at supporting people who have tested positive and their contacts to isolate and providing advice, guidance and support. It is critical to stopping the virus spreading in our communities.

“It’s a year since we set up Test, Trace, Protect from scratch – at what the Auditor General for Wales described as an extraordinary scale and at pace. A great deal of hard work across NHS Wales, local authorities, the voluntary sector and partner organisations has created a highly-effective programme to help us keep Wales safe. Everyone involved can be extremely proud of their efforts.

“I want to thank everyone involved, including Public Health Wales and Digital Health Care Wales. In particular I want to thank the contact tracers and those providing Protect services who have provided much-needed support to people at an extremely difficult time in their lives.

“They have done much more than their title suggests – they have identified vulnerable people and got them extra support, whether that be someone to chat to, a food parcel, or linking in with vital mental health services.

“As we seek to stop the spread of new variants of concern, experienced contact tracers are key to doing this effectively and we are continuing to invest in this work.”

Research has suggested that when coronavirus transmission was high before the firebreak last year, TTP reduced the R number from approximately 1.7 to 1.3. Using the more recent R number and improvements to monitoring, its impact may be to reduce R from 1.3 to 0.8.

Contact tracers and advisers working for the TTP service are now undertaking enhanced contact tracing to tackle variants of concern.

They also:

·  Manage and provide assurance to almost 18,000 travellers from amber list countries who must quarantine and take tests;

·  Take vaccination programme calls from the public, arrange bookings and follow up on those who do not attend;

·  Act as the contact centre for the Welsh Vaccination Certificate Service;

·  Contact large businesses and local employers to encourage them to take up the Welsh Government offer of asymptomatic lateral flow tests, (LFTs);

·  Contact local business, including licenced premises, hospitality and care homes, to establish correct contact details and establish if any support is needed in relation to COVID-19 measures, regulatory requirements and other public health issues;

·  Support community testing sites.

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Aberystwyth CID appeal following serious assault

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ABERYSTWYTH CID are investigating a serious assault that occurred in the Castle Street area of Aberystwyth at approx. 4.45pm on Tuesday, June 15 2021. Following medical treatment the victim is recovering at home. Police are appealing for any witnesses to the assault and anyone in the vicinity around this time, or immediately prior to the incident, that may have witnessed people acting suspiciously.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org. Quote reference: DP-20210615-268

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New Quay RNLI’s special artwork to honour local volunteers is unveiled

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ON SUNDAY (June 13) saw a special artwork unveiled at New Quay Lifeboat Station by RNLI’s Director of Lifesaving Operations, John Payne. The artwork was created by local amateur artist and wife of New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mrs Tina Couch who wanted to pay tribute to the special job the volunteers do, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mrs Couch talking about the artwork said, “Last year some of the volunteers went above and beyond and worked hard in the community by delivering food parcels and medicines to those shielding in the area. I wanted to pay tribute to all the volunteers at New Quay Lifeboat Station so decided to paint a mural with a portrait of each volunteer. This artwork is to recognise all the hard work they did during the lockdown, as well as being on call 24/7 to save lives at sea.” 

John Payne, RNLI’s Director of Lifesaving Operations added, “It was an honour to unveil this wonderful piece of artwork, a great end to celebrating Volunteers’ Week. Our communities benefit enormously from our volunteers’ selflessness and this is a special way to reflect on their achievements. I would like to thank every one of you who make the RNLI what it is today, and recognise the sacrifices and efforts undertaken in giving your time, energy and positivity to the organisation.”  

While Mr Payne was visiting New Quay Lifeboat Station he had another presentation to make, a certificate of thanks to Steffan Williams who raised over £2,200 for the RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign. Steffan, aged 12, a pupil in Ysgol Bro Teifi, paddleboarded not just one mile but accomplished 10 miles in under four hours and smashed his target of £100.  

Mr Payne said, “This is a great achievement for someone so young. Steffan has shown his determination in being a lifesaver, and he is definitely someone to watch in the future as he continues his volunteering within the RNLI.”  

Steffan recieving award

Steffan said, “I am so pleased that I’ve raised so much for the RNLI and want to thank everyone who has donated. It is a charity close to my heart as my Dad is a crew member and I want to join when I’m older too. They are all volunteers and need our help to pay for equipment and lifeboats.” 

If you would like to volunteer for the RNLI please visit the website to find out more: https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/how-you-can-volunteer/be-a-lifeboat-station-volunteer

Or if you would like to donate to New Quay RNLI to help the volunteers save lives at sea please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/new-quay-wales

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Strategic plan to strengthen Welsh medium education

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A CONSULTATION period will be held during the autumn term this year to increase the number of pupils in Ceredigion who will be able to develop and learn through the medium of Welsh.

During a Cabinet meeting held virtually on Tuesday, 15 June 2021, members discussed the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan for 2022-2032. The plan is a 10 year strategy which sets out the requirements to reach the Welsh Government’s target of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Cabinet Members agreed to hold a consultation period during the autumn term of 2021 for eight weeks, incorporating views by pupils, parents, schools and governing bodies.

The strategy outlines aims which include increasing the number of nursery and reception age pupils in Welsh medium education; encourage more learners to study Welsh as a subject and subjects through the medium of Welsh; increase the provision of Welsh medium education for pupils with additional learning needs and increase the number of teaching staff who can teach Welsh as a subject and subjects through the medium of Welsh.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “The Welsh in Education Strategic Plan reinforces Ceredigion County Council’s aspiration to strengthen the position of the Welsh language through its Language Strategy. I’m pleased to see that a consultation period will be held this autumn to gather ideas in order to plan and develop Welsh medium education in our county.”

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, added: “I welcome this draft document which aims to create more opportunities for pupils across the county to take full advantage of Welsh medium education.”

Following the consultation period, feedback will be considered and the plan will be reintroduced to the Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the full Council for consideration and final decision. The proposal supports the Council’s Strategic Objectives and the Welsh Government’s Million Speakers by 2050 Strategy.

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