South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council have, along with every other Council in the country, has been tasked with supporting the National Plan to protect the NHS and prevent unnecessary deaths during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,.

portrait style photographs of Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council; and Cllr Neil Jory, Leader of West Devon Borough Council

South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council have, along with every other Council in the country, has been tasked with supporting the National Plan to protect the NHS and prevent unnecessary deaths.

You may have heard the Prime Minister advising that the NHS has identified 1.5M extremely vulnerable individuals with specific medical conditions who are most at risk from coronavirus (COVID-19).  Letters advising those individuals will be sent out this week advising them to stay at home for 12 weeks.

Please note that these letters of instruction will be sent to a person's registered home address.  Individuals should, therefore, be aware if they are isolating in, or visiting their second home you may not qualify to receive help locally.

There may be others within our communities who are similarly vulnerable: over 70s; expectant mothers and people with underlying medical conditions that make them susceptible. Those individuals may also choose, and would be well advised, to self-isolate during this period.

Many of these people will have little or no direct support. It will be our job, working with all of our communities, to protect these people and shield them from the virus and the effects of the current emergency.   

This will impact every town and parish nationwide, from Downing Street to Our Street.  Together with helping to support businesses and responding to hardship cases, this task is going to be our absolute priority and we have been asked by the Government to do what it takes to complete our mission.

In order to respond we have spent much of the last few weeks  planning for this escalating situation; we have reorganised our structure, working closely with the Devon and Cornwall Local Resilience Forum - who will oversee this effort - and Devon County Council to focus our resources to take on the job.  We now have the right people in the right places so we can react quickly and provide the  extremely vulnerable with the support they need, shield them from the virus and protect the NHS.  Government has promised us that if we lead the way the resources will follow.

We have created a Community Response Team, who are already talking to Town and Parish Councils.  Our work to help, support and protect the most vulnerable people will develop over the coming week, as we work with our partners, including local voluntary groups.

If you are in need - or know someone who is - you can register that need at the email address below or by calling 01822 813600 or 01803 861234  providing the relevant name, contact number and address where possible. Local voluntary groups can register by contacting the Council at the same email address CommunityCoordination.Covid19@swdevon.gov.uk  

Follow the Government's advice, follow us on social media, stay in touch with your community and we will get more information out to you as soon as we have it.

Issued: 24 March 2020