We held a press briefing this afternoon to update the media on our work during the pandemic. To ensure you are kept up to date, I have included my introductory remarks below:
Cornwall Council is continuing to work hard on behalf of our residents during these extraordinary times, putting your interests first and using our resources wisely.
Our covid-19 email address at email@example.com, and telephone line on 0300 1231 118 remain open and available for residents to use for any covid19-related queries.
In addition, we have a telephone line dedicated to those deemed clinically vulnerable to get in touch for support and advice. That number is 0300 1234 334.
News of a breakthrough in the search for a Covid-19 vaccine comes as a relief to us all, bringing with it the first, tentative hopes that an end to this terrible pandemic may soon be in sight.
We can’t be certain when the vaccine will be available to the general public, but I know that colleagues in the NHS are already working hard to put plans in place that ensure our residents will be able to access it.
But now is not the time to drop our guard. The vaccine isn’t with us yet, and exciting though it is, we must not allow ourselves to become complacent at the first, welcome promise of a return to normality.
We must negotiate these difficult winter months first, because the threats posed by the virus to our healthcare system and the most vulnerable among us are all too real.
Thanks to the efforts of our residents, over the course of the year the rate of infection remains relatively low in Cornwall, but we have seen a worrying rise in cases in certain areas.
East Cornwall in particular has in recent weeks seen clusters of infection that our public health team have worked tirelessly to help contain. We are doing all we can to keep our residents safe but stopping the spread of the virus takes a collective effort. We must all do our bit to keep Cornwall safe. That means following public health guidance in the same way at home as we would when we’re out at work, or shopping for essentials. Wash your hands, keep your distance, wear a face covering, and if you or anyone in your household has symptoms, self-isolate and get a test. These simple measures can and will help save lives.
I’d also like to provide a brief update on the situation regarding business grants, known now as Local Restrictions Support Grants or LRSGs. This is a Government grant administered by Cornwall Council and designed to support businesses which pay business rates and have been forced to close as a result of this second lockdown.
We’re currently in the process of setting up a system to ensure that eligible businesses can apply for grant funding using a simple form. Businesses are under tremendous strain as it is, so it’s important that this system is as straightforward as possible. There will also be a discretionary scheme to support businesses unable to access the LRSG scheme. We are currently working through the Government guidance on this and working with Cornwall’s business leaders to ensure the process we put in place is targeted at those who need it most, and distributes the funding fairly. We expect to have more details about grant funding and how to apply available by the end of the week.
I have spoken regularly at these briefings about the dangers posed by the virus, and the importance of staying at home as much as possible during the lockdown. But it is important to recognise that home is not a safe place for everyone. Those living with domestic abuse have worries and fears that extend far beyond the threat posed by Covid-19. If that’s you, I want you to know that you are not alone. Help and support is still available for those who need it. Refuges are still running, and specialist domestic abuse workers are still on hand to respond to your needs and help you stay safe.
You can find more information about the support that’s available on the Safer Cornwall website at safercornwall.co.uk.
You can also access help from Safer Futures, Cornwall’s domestic abuse and sexual violence support service, by visiting their website at saferfutures.org.uk or by calling 0300 777 4777.
As the lockdown continues, the nights draw in, and many of us remain separated from our friends and families, it’s not surprising that we have seen a rise in the number of people experiencing anxiety and depression. These are extraordinary times, and it’s OK to not be OK. To help, Cornwall Council has partnered with health and social care providers across Cornwall to put together a list of resources that are available to support anyone who finds themselves struggling with their mental health. You can find them by visiting our website at cornwall.gov.uk and searching for mental health, or you can call the Cornwall NHS 24/7 mental health support line on 0800 038 5300.
All coronavirus related enquiries or issues to our dedicated email firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address is monitored throughout normal business hours.
Anyone who needs help can request a volunteer by ringing 01872 266988 or email@example.com.
I will update you again as we know more.
Please continue to look after yourselves,
Hembrenkyas an Konsel
Konseler Kernow rag Pastel-vro An Ros
Leader of the Council
Cornwall Councillor for the Roseland Division