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Coronavirus: Leader of Lincolnshire County Council urges people to follow Government advice

The leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill (Con) has provided an update on the current situation at the council and our services during this time.

Coun Hill said: "Boris Johnson announced on Thursday (March 20) that he hoped the UK would be able to turn the tide on the coronavirus pandemic in the next 12 weeks if we follow the government's advice on self-isolating and social distancing. This weekend I'd encourage people to follow that advice, reduce unnecessary travel, socialising and continue washing your hands regularly to help protect the most vulnerable here in Lincolnshire and across the country.

"Many council services continue to run as normal, with extra precautions in place to keep residents and our staff safe, including limiting the number of people at our household waste recycling centres or in our register offices at any one time.

Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (14784599)
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (14784599)

"I just want to comment on the sterling work taking place in our communities. Our Lincolnshire Resilience Forum (LRF) has been set up to gather information about community activity across the county. There may be partners who can support these groups in helping their communities care for the most vulnerable people who are in self-isolation – whether it's collecting essential medicines, food and other supplies or just checking they are OK in a safe way.

"To contact the LRF, please email CEC_CVC@lincoln.fire-uk.org or telephone 01522 787034. Further contact details are on our website.

"I know that you will all share my concerns about the impact of coronavirus on our economy, both nationally and locally. There is already advice available to businesses in the county. This includes webinars and phone calls with growth hub advisors. This will tell you about accessing government funding and the steps businesses should take during this challenging time.

Lincolnshire County Council chief executive Debbie Barnes
Lincolnshire County Council chief executive Debbie Barnes

"All the information is on www.businesslincolnshire.com- please point any business enquiries to that site or to the relevant district council in terms of business rate queries."

Debbie Barnes, chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council, said: "As you will be aware, guidance was issued last night on school closures.There is a very helpful 'question and answer for parents' document on the Department for Education website and we encourage parents to read that.

"The guidance that was issued also provided a definition of key workers and which staff this will affect.We have been busy today identifying our own members of staff that this applies to and I'm sure that many of your other employees have also been considering how it applies to them.

"We've been looking at this to make sure our critical services are not affected and we've been identifying which most vulnerable people will continue to get their services in order for our critical services to continue to deliver.

"We want to thank our schools who have been working very hard today to contact parents to identify whether they are a key worker and whether their children will need child care.We recognise that it will take a few days for the new system to come into place and we thank you for your patience with this.

"We know that for us this includes childcare for our health workers, our social care staff, nursery and teaching staff, and all those local government workers who are crucial to delivering essential services.

"The important thing is that children of key workers can go to schools if parents can't look after them, although the clear advice is that children should stay at home if possible - childcare is available to help us to deliver our critical services.

"As the situation develops and we prioritise our services we'll be asking more staff to take on new roles to support more critical services. We're already seeing some great examples of flexibility amongst our staff. Last night we had 43 staff who wanted to volunteer into our residential homes, and we thank them.

"We're also making some changes to the services delivered by our health visitors and our children and young people's nurses in light of national guidance and ensuring that we can continue to respond to need. As you may know, health visitors in Lincolnshire deliver the healthy child programme for all families with children, from pregnancy through to when children start school. We also offer support to school aged children with specific health needs.

"So while the county council is managing this emergency we will be providing the following:

  • Contact with families before their baby is born usually by telephone
  • A visit to the home to new-born babies once the midwife has stopped visiting
  • An individual care package for those families who need it because their children are at high risk
  • Nurses will also continue to support children who have continence needs.

"Unfortunately other routine visits will stop but families will still be able to access the service if they wish to receive additional support - ring 01522 843000.

"Please keep up to date on all of our services on our website at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/coronavirus"

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