Government figures today show 4635 people in Kent and Medway have tested positive for coronavirus, including 532 in Thanet.
The government breakdown shows those people with positive tests by district for the first time. Figures for other East Kent districts are Ashford 573, Canterbury 400, Folkestone & Hythe 297 and Dover 289.
In Thanet part of the effort to help residents through the pandemic has been the Thanet District Council community helpline, which was set up at the start of the lockdown. This has so far been contacted by 2,150 people either by phone or email.
Referrals take approximately 10 minutes and contact is made within 48 hours Some 150 local residents have also been put in contact with Kent Coast Volunteering, which then matches volunteers to local voluntary and community organisations
The helpline was established to offer a single point of contact for people in the community that required help but were not on the central Government’s list of ‘shielded’ or extremely vulnerable people.
It offers support to those who may not have previously needed help but because of existing health conditions, or age have been asked to stay at home and take particular care.
The council is working with established organisations, including Salvation Army, Global Generation Church, Kent Coast Volunteering, Age UK and town and parish councils to make sure people in need are connected to those best able to help them either due to proximity or specialist skills.
Anyone who doesn’t have a support network of family or friends and is now deemed vulnerable can contact the dedicated helpline on 01843 577 330 to request assistance. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm, including weekends and bank holidays and is staffed by officers from the council’s Community Support team as well as a number of others who have volunteered to be redeployed.
Cllr Helen Whitehead (pictured), Deputy Leader of Thanet council said:“There has never been a greater need to support the most vulnerable people in the community, and it’s important for people to remember that you don’t have to be on the shielded list to approach us for help. We are here to help anyone who finds that they are in a vulnerable position, and we encourage anyone in need to contact us.
“By acting as a central contact point we are making sure we’re able to see the whole picture and direct help to where it is most needed and to the right areas. Our team might connect a caller to an NHS volunteer to pick up a prescription, or to a local voluntary organisation who can pick up some shopping or make a referral to a befriending service so they have someone to talk to. This is a challenging time for everyone and it’s important to remember that it’s absolutely normal if you feel isolated – we encourage you to reach out if you feel you need support.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has put themselves forward to help in some way, from our local residents – many of whom contacted us with offers of their time, or donations of food and supplies – to the many staff at the council who are taking calls in their homes and keeping the phone line going, and the officers and councillors out collecting donations and making checks on residents. The levels of generosity and can-do spirit being shown are phenomenal.
“None of this would be possible without all of our partner organisations and the people working together behind the scenes to make life a little bit easier for those who are most vulnerable and dependent on help from others at this time. Thank you all. It’s at times like this we show just what an incredible community we are.”
In addition to the community helpline, staff from the Multi-Agency Task Force are contacting those on the list of ‘shielded’ or extremely vulnerable people. Contact is made to assess their welfare, understand any needs they may have and to inform them of the Thanet Helpline number.
Some 97% of people on the extremely vulnerable (shielded) list have been called to date from a list of 4,300 and 325 home visits have been made to check that the most vulnerable people are safe and well
With so many people shopping online there aren’t as many opportunities to donate food or toiletries at the supermarket. Anyone with food or toiletries to donate can contact the helpline on 01843 577330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get in touch to arrange collection.
Pick ups take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Items are then delivered to organisations for onward distribution.