This week has been busy.
The Devon and Cornwall Local Resilience Forum has finally set up a ‘test, track and trace cell’. We haven’t had our Health and Social Care Scrutiny formal meetings but have still been asking questions and have been briefed by the various different ‘cells’ who are running Cornwall’s Covid response and I was relieved that our local Public Health team look to be taking the initiative here. Labour have been pushing for local authority Public Health teams to be involved in testing, tracking and tracing rather than leaving it to Serco! At last Regional Public Health has been asked to get involved, but it still seems painfully slow and it will be amazing if the whole system is up and running by 1 June as Boris Johnson rashly promised under questioning at PMQs.
Testing in care homes is also beginning to happen. Tests are being couriered to and from homes and results times are speeding up now. There is still a way to go to have everyone in care homes and working there tested by early June.
It still knocks me sideways that people were discharged from hospitals to care homes in early April with their Covid status unknown due to the government guidelines.
Cornwall Council’s Policy on schools restarting for Yrs R, 1 & 6 has been to offer help to schools but not give them any firm guidance. Labour’s policy is that schools should not open until it is safe to do so and we have made that clear locally and nationally. It was lovely to get a letter from the shadow education secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Labour Local Goverment lead, Nick Forbes, supporting councillors in this last night.
The council has started the business grant scheme mark 2. If you know of someone with a local business who is suffering due to Covid and may need to apply through the scheme, please direct them here - https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/smallbusinessgrant
I have been working with local businesses about waste collection during the crisis which has led to the idea of waste/resource collectives as part of the Circular Falmouth initiative. We are also looking to open up the town centre during recovery to people and businesses and use public space and highways for people to safely social distance. This will also hopefully happen in 4 other Cornish towns.
Labour Councillor for Falmouth Smithick
This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party