Director of Public Health Devon’s response to PM Statement

Devon County Council issued a bulletin on 20th January 2022 in response to a statement in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister.

In the House, the Prime Minister had said:

Today’s latest ONS data shows clearly that infection levels are falling in England. And while there are some places where cases are likely to continue rising, including in primary schools, our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally.

Hospital admissions nationally, he said, have now stabilised and the numbers in intensive care are falling. Mr Johnson also said that:

  • from the next Thursday (27 January) mandatory certification will end, meaning people will no longer have to prove their Coronavirus status to gain entry to some venues;
  • the government will no longer ask people to work from home, but that people should talk to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office;
  • that it will no longer be compulsory to wear face coverings, starting this week in classrooms;
  • there will be easing of restrictions governing visits to care homes.

But while the current rules around self-isolation remain in place, Mr Johnson said:

There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether – just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.

He added that he does not expect to renew the current self-isolation regulations, when they expire on Thursday 24 March.

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said in response:

“While we have seen a reduction in the overall number of people reporting a positive test in the past week, numbers are now stabilising, and we are seeing increased rates in younger children.

Case rates are still high and it is important that people understand that this announcement is not one of ‘freedom day’, but a reverting back to plan A.

Devon’s uptake of the vaccination is good, with more than 85 per cent of eligible people overall now having had their booster.

However, take-up of the booster is lower in some younger age groups, and it’s imperative that they and everyone who is eligible for their booster jab, comes forward as soon as they can.

Omicron is by no means a mild virus, and the symptoms to those who are unvaccinated or who have underlying health concerns can be extremely serious if not life threatening.

So while the Prime Minister is indicating light towards the end of the tunnel, my advice is that we are not yet out of the woods.

We must stay vigilant and alert to risk that is still around us.”

  • Being fully vaccinated, and boosted, gives us best protection from this virus.  It’s not too late to start vaccinations, and there are now plenty of opportunities in Devon to get your booster jabs at walk-in and vaccination centres;
  • wearing face coverings is still an effective and sensible precaution to continue in indoor and crowded spaces, especially with people you don’t know;
  • regular lateral flow device testing for people with no symptoms is still the best way to identify those carrying the virus — as is taking a PCR test by people showing symptoms;
  • keeping indoor spaces ventilated is a sensible precaution to reduce risk;
  • and staying at home and avoiding others if you have symptoms of the virus or test positive for it, is still the most responsible way to avoid spreading it to others.”

“Please be cautious, let’s use our common sense, and continue to follow good basic public health advice.”

You may view the full Public Health bulletin from Devon County Council here.

Changes to Waste and Recycling Dates in the South Hams this January

On 14th January 2022, South Hams District Council sent out a new bulletin detailing changes to the Waste and Recycling Dates in January. In summary, the teams are now working 6 days a week and collection dates are now:

♻️ Friday 14 January – it will now be Monday 17 January
♻️ Monday 17 January – it will now be Tuesday 18 January
♻️ Tuesday 18 January – it will now be Wednesday 19 January
♻️ Wednesday 19 January – it will now be Thursday 20 January
♻️ Thursday 20 January – it will now be Friday 21 January
♻️ Friday 21 January – it will now be Saturday 22 January

From Monday 24 January onwards, all collections should return to normal.

You can view the bulletin as a web page here


Changes to the Covid testing regime

From 11th January 2022, the Government changed its Covid testing system. People without symptoms no longer require a PCR test to confirm a positive lateral flow in England.

Devon County Council issued a news release to summarise the changes in Covid testing, explaining which test to get, where to get it in Devon, what to do with the results, and how long to isolate for.

You can read the full guidance release by clicking here.

A Covid update from Devon County Council

On Friday 7th January 2022, Devon County Council released an update about Covid and its effects on the County. Its intention is to:

Help reduce risk for the sake of others as COVID-19 cases rise in Devon

It includes sections about:

  • a new year message of hope from Devon’s Director of Public Health;
  • help reduce risk for the sake of others;
  • confirmatory PCR tests temporarily suspended;
  • plenty of capacity at Devon COVID-19 vaccination sites;
  • returning to school safely.

The update is available online and you can view it as a web page.

A Christmas Update from South Hams District Council

South Hams District Council has released a Christmas Update wishing a Merry Christmas and safe tidings from the council.

Their festive newsletter includes:

  • the latest advice on Covid-19;
  • details of the vaccination booster programme;
  • council opening hours;
  • changes to waste and recycling collections over the festive period;
  • Dartmouth ferry changes;
  • information on how to find services that could help this winter;
  • details on how to follow SHDC Council Meetings from home in the New Year.

The newsletter is available online Click Here


Recycling and Waste Collections

South Hams District Council have published their table of revised waste and recycling collections over the Christmas and New Year period.

SHDC Waste Collections

Urgent Message from Village Hall Committee

A child who was at the Village Christmas party on Saturday on 11th December, has tested positive for Covid today (Monday 13th) using a lateral flow test, they are now awaiting PCR test results.

It is suggest you all those who attended the party test themselves at home to make sure they are safe.

How to get help if you need it

In early December South Hams District Council published a revised directory of essential information and contact details for a wide range of support available across the district from the Council and other groups.

This includes:

  • details on how to apply for the Household Support Fund to get help with paying essential bills;
  • where to go for help if you have mobility needs, including applying for a blue badge or Personal Independence Payments;
  • support to pay for energy costs as well as help to improve the energy efficiency of your home to reduce fuel bills;
  • a list of places to go for financial and practical support for young people and families;
  • contacts for a wide range of other support available locally, including foodbanks, help for people feeling isolated, mental health support and where to go for money and debt advice.

The directory is available online at:

Village Party Update

The Village Hall Committee is looking forward to seeing you at the Christmas party on Saturday 11th December at 6pm. The hall is decorated and ready to party.

To keep us all safe and well, we would be very grateful if all adults and older children take a lateral flow test before attending, and only attend following a negative result. We will be asking everyone to sign the attendance book.

The Village Hall Committee.

SHDC release video about co-mingled waste

South Hams District Council has received a number of enquiries and questions about their co-mingled waste collections, and what is done with it. To try and answer some of them, the South Hams District Council Communications Team released a video to show what happens once it is collected. The video is available on You Tube:

[Video Released 24 November 2021 – by  Vicky Croughan]