Message from Councillor Martyn Ford, South Derbyshire District Council’s Leader

martyn martyn

Dear South Derbyshire residents,

It has been another exceptionally busy week for South Derbyshire District Council staff as we move into the seventh week of the current social distancing measures.

I would like to thank all of our staff – those who are working to keep front-line services such as bin collections, maintaining our parks so you can take daily exercise, processing business grants, carrying out emergency repairs to council homes and supporting some of our most vulnerable tenants and residents – and all the support staff, many of them working from home, who work to support the delivery of these services.

We await further information from the Government on how the restrictions will be lifted and the measures we will put in place. Please be assured that we will have the safety of our staff and residents at the heart of everything we do.

For now, though, it is essential to maintain social distancing. Thank you for continuing to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. Please remember to only leave the house only when you have to: for work if you cannot work from home, for daily exercise or to collect food or medical supplies.

We have heard this week that our roads are becoming busier and how important it is to continue to follow the measures now, so that we can move closer to restrictions being lifted.

In the face of such hard times, I am very proud to see so many wonderful comments coming from local people, thanking our staff for the services and care they are providing.

Last week, we were very pleased to announce that council staff carrying out key worker roles can now be tested for COVID-19 if they begin to display symptoms of the virus.

The expansion of testing including to the over 65s was announced last weekend and means frontline staff and key workers and those in their household who  are showing symptoms, will be able to quickly find out whether they have the virus, and help people return to work as quickly as possible if they are fit and well.

This will offer a great deal of reassurance for our workforce and the people we are supporting and caring for day to day.

Information is available on the gov.uk website council website to check if your role is included in a key worker category and what to do if you think you need a test: Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do.

It is important that you act fast if you begin to experience symptoms of the virus - such as a high temperature or a persistent cough, as testing needs to take place within the first three days of symptoms appearing.

I want to offer my sincere thanks to all our staff, business and workers in the voluntary sector who are working tirelessly to provide care and support families.  I want to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to protect residents and staff, and we have every measure in place to minimise the risk of our older people becoming unwell. Our thoughts are with everyone who is coping with this illness or the loss of a loved one at this time.

Making sure staff have access to the right PPE continues to be a priority and I would like to reassure you that we are working with our partners to monitor our supply daily, and to make sure that the right PPE gets to the teams who need it.  

We are working hard to plan how we might balance the gradual re-introduction of services with ongoing measures to prevent infection and manage the financial cost of crisis.   We will keep you updated on our website.

Thank you and please stay safe and well.

4 May 2020