Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 11 December 2020

Earlier this week Scottish Government announced that Renfrewshire and all 11 local authority areas currently in Level Four, will be moving into Level Three of protective measures from today, Friday 11 December.

This is as a result of everyone's hard work and sacrifice, helping to slow the rate of increase in Renfrewshire and help drive the number of cases down however, while the current measures have helped slow down the spread of the virus, it has not gone away, and the risks posed to life remain.

You can read the full details of COVID protection Level 3 on the Scottish Government website, however the main changes include that from 6am this morning our high street shops, including hairdressers and barbers, were able to reopen. The rest of the changes come into effect from 6pm this evening when gyms and libraries can reopen, and from tomorrow restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors and outdoors for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

The restrictions on travel remain the same and you should not meet anyone not in your household indoors in your home or in theirs. You can however meet one other household indoors in a public place such as a café or restaurant in line with the restrictions in place where you live.

I know it's not easy but as we move into Level 3, everyone needs to keep following the rules, remember the FACTS and do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and protect the NHS over this winter period.

One way you can help protect yourself, loved ones, the NHS and council services this winter is by getting a free flu vaccination as part of this year's extended Council programme. Give the impact of COVID-19 this year we more than doubled the amount of vaccinations available, so that any member of staff who wants one, can get one.

The flu vaccine can't give you flu, but it can stop you and those you care about from catching it, so if you have claimed your Boots e-voucher I would urge you to please use it before it runs out on 31 December 2020. For those that haven't there is still time, but please speak to your line manager as soon as possible.

This week also saw the conclusion of the asymptomatic testing pilot at Johnstone Town Hall, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for the important role they played in the successful delivery of the pilot, the first of this type in Scotland.

More than 5000 people visited Johnstone Town Hall throughout the eight days, and the findings will play a key role in helping inform future public health decisions on large-scale testing and public health data that will help contain the virus and protect our communities. Quicker identification of positive cases will help lower transmission levels and give a clearer picture of the prevalence of the virus within Johnstone, and it's for those reasons that we volunteered to deliver the pilot.

The feedback we have received from Scottish Government, local residents, and those that have visited the test centre has been excellent, and this is yet another great example of our values in action, and teams from across the council coming together to deliver for the people of Renfrewshire, and I could not be prouder.

I'm sure like me you were delighted to see 90-year-old Margaret Keenan become the first person in the world to be receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine this week, as part of the mass Covid-19 vaccination programme.

This is positive news and we are working closely with our colleagues at Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to support them in the delivery of the first phase of the roll-out which will initially see eligible staff in local care homes including carers, cleaning and catering offered the vaccination.

Our Renfrewshire HSCP and NHS colleagues have now completed training on how to administer the Pfizer vaccine which is proven to be up to 95 per cent effective. Delivered in two doses, the first tranche of vaccines is being administered to health care workers this week before they begin the roll-out of the vaccine for other priority groups, including care home staff in the coming weeks. You can read more information about the vaccination programme at NHS Inform.

And finally, Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership's Alcohol and Drugs Commission has announced its proposals to tackle the challenges posed by alcohol and drugs in Renfrewshire, particularly around mental health and social isolation. The Commission, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, has been exploring the issue since 2019 and has now published its findings.

The report sets out the work the Commission believes needs to happen in Renfrewshire in the next five years to improve the lives of people and families who have been impacted by alcohol and drugs and you can read the full report and findings here.

Sandra Black