WALES leading doctor has urged everyone to take steps to protect themselves from Covid-19 as case rates are surging to their highest levels in the pandemic.
Dr Chris Jones, Wales’ deputy chief medical officer, encouraged people across Wales to get their booster vaccine and follow measures to curb the spread of the virus.
The latest figures show case rates have risen sharply to more than 910 cases per 100,000 people – the highest levels since the start of the pandemic.
Some 6,000 new infections are being confirmed daily, the majority of which will be caused by the new omicron variant.
More than 54% of adults in Wales have had their booster vaccine.
Dr Jones said: “We are seeing a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases caused by omicron all over Wales. The majority of these are in younger people and we believe they would have been contracted before Christmas.
“This new variant is very transmissible – it spreads very quickly wherever people come together.
“Please take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. This means wearing a face covering in indoor public places; keeping your distance from other people wherever possible and, if you can, reducing the number of people you meet regularly.
“If you have symptoms, self-isolate and arrange to get a PCR test.
“Please also get your booster vaccine – it’s the best way of protecting ourselves.
“Wales is at alert level two and new protections are in place. This is a worrying time but if we all work together and look out for each other, we can keep Wales safe.”
New alert level two measures for businesses and updated and strengthened guidance to help people stay safe at home came into effect on Boxing Day in Wales in response to the predicted omicron wave.
The key things everyone can do to lower their risk of contracting coronavirus:
- Get fully vaccinated, including having your booster – the vaccine offers significant protections for you and for people you care about.
- Self-isolate and get a PCR if you have Covid-19 symptoms. Avoid others when ill.
- Take lateral flow tests twice a week if you don’t have any symptoms and flow before you go out or meet people. If it’s positive don’t go and arrange to have a PCR test.
- Keep your distance from others wherever possible.
- Limit the number of people you meet with, especially if you’re meeting different people in quick succession.
- Meet outdoors if you can or in well-ventilated places.
- Avoid crowded places where possible.
- Wash your hands; sneeze into tissues and keep surfaces lots of people touch clean.
- Wear a face covering, especially in crowded spaces.
- Use the NHS COVID Pass or show a negative lateral flow test result to attend large events, venues, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
Bereavement books to support children at Bronglais Hospital
THANKS to donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities has purchased a collection of children’s books on bereavement for the Meurig oncology ward at Bronglais Hospital.
The books help families to support children when there has been a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Ellen Masters, Meurig Ward Administrator, said: “By having these books on the ward we are able to guide and support children and young people dealing with bad news and bereavement.
“Using stories and activities can be a really good way to discuss issues with a child who has been bereaved, helping them to explore feelings and emotions around loss.
“Parents also appreciate having something they can read to children which deals sensitively with the issues.”
Pictured with some of the books is Senior Ward Sister Alaw Ciornei.
Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”
For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk
NHS Dental Treatment in Wales Still 55% Lower Than Pre-Pandemic Levels
RESPONDING to figures released this week showing that the number of courses of NHS dental treatment are still 55.1% lower than the year prior to the pandemic, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for the use of dental hygienists and dental nurses to be increased to help clear backlogs.
Overall, there was a decrease of 35.5% (539,959 patients) in the total number of patients treated, and the percentage of the total population treated decreased by 17.0 percentage points. This is the largest decrease for both adults and children since the series began in the 24-month period ending March 2006.
The figures also show a worrying decline in the number of children treated decreased with a reduction of 33.6% (125,246 patients).
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS told The Ceredigion Herald: “The figures we see today are very concerning. An inability to access an NHS dentist continues to be one of the main concerns I hear from my constituents.
“Just over the course of this summer, the largest town in Powys lost two out of four of its dental practices and the picture is similar across much of Wales.
“Everyone understands the challenges faced by dentistry following the pandemic. However, there are actions the Welsh Government can take both in the here and now and in the longer term to help clear backlogs and get NHS dentistry back on track.
“When I’ve spoken to industry experts over the summer they have all said the same thing, increasing the number of dental nurses and dental hygienists, as well as broadening the work they are allowed to do will help clear backlogs.
“I will continue to press Labour to make these changes as soon as possible.”
Local Businesses help raise astonishing £10,000 for Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital
THE ORGANISERS of the 2021 Aberystwyth Businesspersons’ Lunch have donated the £10,000 proceeds to the Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital.
Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands;
John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad
and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon
The lunch last December was in memory of well-known local businessman, jeweller and musician John Davies, who had helped organise the annual lunch for many years but sadly passed away just a few months before.
“John was such a lovely man, a pillar of the town and so well thought of, that we decided it was fitting that the lunch should be in his memory and that the proceeds should go to the cardiac unit where he had been treated for so many years,” said Aled Rowlands, who organised the lunch along with Frank Bridle, Layla Mangan, Gary Pemberthy, Huw Bates and Iestyn Leyshon.
“It was a very successful day, with nearly 200 people enjoying a lunch, comedian, band, auction and raffle. It was a fitting tribute to John who was such a big part of the town.”
John Davies joined his parents’ business at T J Davies at the age of 16 where he worked for 64 years after leaving Llandaff Cathedral School. He passed away in August 2021, at the age of 80.
John’s wife Ann and children Angharad and Rhodri said: “We were delighted at the generous amount that was raised in his memory at the Businesspersons Christmas lunch.
“Charity work was important to John, through his membership of the Lions Club and it is fitting that the money raised went to a department where he personally received such care and attention from Dr McKeogh and his team.
“John will be remembered not only as a businessman but also as a keen and talented trumpeter, playing with Aberystwyth Town Band, Aber Jazz and Philomusica, to name but a few, as well as playing carols with the Town Band every Christmas Day around Bronglais Hospital wards and care homes in the town.”
Pictured at the cheque presentation at Bronglais Hospital are (from left) Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands; John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon.
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