Coronavirus (COVID-19) update – April 2021

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place across the country.

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 12 April, but many restrictions remain in place.

You can read about the Government guidance and restrictions by clicking this link https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

In England:

You must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with, unless you have formed a support bubble with them, or another exemption applies.

Up to 6 people or 2 household can meet outside.

If you work, you should continue to work from home if you can, and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible.

Social distancing is still very important.  You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.  This is the law.

You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times, including if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are no longer advised to shield.  However, you should continue to follow the guidance you received for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, or contact your GP for further advice.  You are advised to continue taking extra precautions to protect yourself.

It is important that everyone continues to keep the number of social interactions that they have low, and tries to limit the amount of time spent in settings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.

We understand how hard these restrictions have been, and continue to be, for our tenants, their families and loved ones.  We have had to make a lot of changes to our services in order to minimise the risk of cross infection to you, our staff and others.  We are sorry, but the changes are unavoidable if we are to keep as many people as safe as possible.

HCHA HEAD OFFICE IS CLOSED

Although the physical office is closed, please be assured that we are still here, and all of the ‘back office’ work is still going ahead as before.  If you need to contact us, call 0208 424 2776 for the latest contact information, or email info@HCHA.org.uk and your enquiry will be forwarded to the most appropriate available person.

Sheltered and Extra Care Housing

We know it is hard not to be able to meet up in your communal lounges if they are closed off.  We will reconsider this when the Government announces that people can gather together safely inside in a way that we can manage.  At the time of writing we are not yet able to reopen them.

If you are worried about anything call our staff or pull the orange cord in your home.  DO NOT DELAY.

The restrictions and guidance are there for a very good reason.  You can pass on the virus before you know that you have it, or if you have no symptoms at all, so wearing a mask (as advised by the Government) and following the rules on social distancing protects us all, including our neighbours.

What have we been doing?

In light of the above measures:

  • We have been phoning as many of our tenants as possible, to check their wellbeing, help them access services and day to day needs, and to give them advice.
  • We have tried to complete emergency repairs as normal, but the timing, nature of the repair, and ability to deliver that service, will be dependent on a number of factors that may be beyond our control. However, we will do our very best to assist you.
  • Contractors and our staff are not allowed to enter the home of anyone who may be self-isolating, have a member of the family who is self-isolating, is symptomatic, or is registered as a shielded person under the protections for very high risk people.
  • If you have an emergency repair, we may ask you some questions about your exposure to the virus. We are sorry if this seems intrusive, but it is vital to protect you, your family, your neighbours, and our staff.

How can we help?

  • If you live alone and become unwell, please stay at home. Contact us by telephone or email to tell us.
  • If you are worried about a neighbour who is on their own please let us know.
  • Please ask non-essential visitors at our sheltered housing and Extra Care schemes not to enter the building.
  • Let us know if you have a non-urgent repair. We still need to keep a record, so that when we can help we will know that you have been waiting.
  • Let us know if you need other services – we can’t help if we don’t know.
  • Follow the guidance. If it confuses you, please feel free to ask our staff.
  • Please tell us if you are clinically extremely vulnerable.

A reminder – hygiene that helps

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly, or use hand sanitiser for the same amount of time, frequently, especially before leaving and on returning to your home.
  • Catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues. Throw away the used tissues and then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Keep your distance from others (2m or three paces) – whether they are well or unwell.

Other information that may help you

The Samaritans can be contacted confidentially and free on 116 123 24 hours a day.  You can also email them or download their self help app https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/

For older people The Silver Line offers a free confidential helpline 0800 4 70 80 90 open 24 hours. https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/

If you are clinically vulnerable and need practical help the letter you received from the NHS will have a helpline number on it. Please call that number or your local council helpline. There are volunteers waiting to help you.

If you need practical help you can contact local Covid Mutal aid groups within your local area.  These are independent groups operating in your area.  You can find them here https://covidmutualaid.org/

Scams: If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace Contact Tracers they will never ask for your bank details; if anyone calls you claiming to be a Contact Tracer and asks for your bank details, then this is a scam.  Citizens Advice has some advice here about current scams and how to report concerns https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/

Latest Government Guidance is available here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus