CEO Update 31st December 2020
As we approach the end of 2020, I cannot deny that I am very concerned about the increasing transmission rate of the new strain of Covid-19. It is impossible not to be anxious at the rising number of hospital admissions, that not only indicates how dangerous this virus can be for many people but is also affecting our ability as a country to provide the free access to healthcare that we are proud of, and often take for granted.
Every service/house where we provide substantial support has its own Covid emergency plan. These plans are under regular review and are being scrutinised by the Area and Support Managers for contingency purposes. We are considering: in the event of significant staffing shortages what is the minimum yet safe level of support that could be provided? Who else in the family circle might we call upon for help if the situation becomes critical? Where or how else might we support someone if we cannot provide support?
However, it is important (and calming) to remind ourselves that being Covid-19 positive for the vast majority of people is not life threatening. For some the symptoms are minor, for others a bad cold or flu and for some there are no symptoms at all. But those without symptoms are not the lucky ones, they are the very people who might inadvertently transmit the virus to someone who is affected badly. It is not ‘lucky’ to be symptom free and present such an enormous danger to others. The responsibility of not transmitting the virus onto someone who is unable to fight the virus is one that should be weighing heavily on each one of us.
We can all try to justify that extra trip to the shop to pick up something we need so badly, that quick visit to friend or that casual hug when you said goodbye to a relative. But there is no justification. The government advice in Tier 4 is Keep Your Distance and Stay At Home. It is that simple.
Unfortunately three of the people we support (within the same household in Oxfordshire) have tested positive for Covid-19, although all three are doing well at home. There is also one person in Oxfordshire who is awaiting the results of a test. We have regular, weekly self-swab testing offered now to all employees. Currently there are three employees who have tested positive; 2 in Oxfordshire and 1 in Buckinghamshire. I was particularly sorry to hear that one employee has required hospital treatment although I understand he is recovering well. I send him my very best wishes for a continued recovery to good health. We are also seeing an increasing number of staff who are absent as a result of self-isolation, either through choice, medical advice or track and trace.
I wish each and every person good health and good fortune for 2021 and I implore everyone reading this, don’t take a chance with someone else’s life. Unless it is for an essential reason, please stay at home.