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Covid-19 rule changes in Wales

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As the Welsh Government attempts to curb the country’s high Covid rates, self-isolating laws are changing in Wales.

Welsh restrictions are being revised in the latest three-weekly review.

In light of the First Minister’s warning that if rates don’t fall in the next three weeks restrictions will be reinstated at the next review on November 19.

What is changing in Wales?

• If someone in your household tests positive or has Covid symptoms you’ll now need to isolate until you’ve had a negative test.

• You’ll need a Covid Pass in theatres and cinemas from November 15. 

• Headteachers will be helped to introduce measures if case rates are high locally.

• Shops have been encouraged to get people to stick to the rules to wear masks.

• Businesses encouraged to resume working from home.

Self-isolation: what’s changing?

It is currently not necessary to self-isolate if you are double vaccinated and living with someone who tests positive, unless you have symptoms or a positive test yourself.

When someone in a household has symptoms or tests positive for Covid-19, the Welsh Government’s new guidance recommends that adults who are fully vaccinated, and children and young people aged five to 17, should isolate themselves until they have received a negative PCR test.

If you are not vaccinated, you will need to self-isolate for ten days following contact with someone who has tested positive, including close household contacts.

It is important that you self-isolate until you have taken a PCR test if someone in your household tests positive for the disease. Once the test is negative, you do not need to isolate.

If it is positive, you too will have to isolate. Also, you will have to isolate while you await the results of the test.

Besides that, what else is changing?

From November 15, you’ll need a Covid Pass to go to the cinema or theatre, meaning they are now needed in more places in Wales.

Staff and secondary school students will also be encouraged to take twice-weekly lateral flow tests to help keep coronavirus out of schools.

Retailers have been asked to ensure that people are wearing their masks indoors.

Welsh Government has also encouraged people to work from home “wherever possible”.

What are the latest figures for Wales?

The latest figures for Wales, released on Thursday, showed another 12 people in Wales have died with coronavirus.

New figures from Public Health Wales (PHW) published on Thursday, October 28, which cover the last 24-hour period, show the total number of Covid-related deaths in Wales is now 6,134.

There were also 2,664 new positive cases recorded in today’s update, bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 432,395.

The latest seven-day infection rate across Wales based on the cases for every 100,000 people (for the seven days up to October 23) now stands at 671.3 – a fall from the 699.7 reported on Wednesday and a second consecutive day where rates have fallen. 

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the rates must drop in the next three weeks, or restrictions will be considered again.

The four UK chief medical officers have asked the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation for urgent advice about reducing the interval between the second dose of the vaccine and the booster.

Welsh Government said that almost 400,000 people have had their autumn booster since the programme was launched and more than 40% of 12 to 15-year-olds have had their vaccine.

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Health

Possible super-hospital plans released as Pembrokeshire site ruled out

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HYWEL Dda Health Board have reduced the number of potential sites for the new “super-hospital” in West Wales from five to three. 

The new site has been narrowed down to two possible locations in Whitland or one in St Clears.

According to the plans provided in Hywel Dda’s technical appraisal reports, all sites will include a main building divided into planned and urgent care, as well as a separate facility for mental health services. Parking, administrative facilities, and a helipad are also planned.

Site 12 in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to site 12

The potential Narberth site is no longer being considered, meaning that the new hospital would be built outside of Pembrokeshire.

Hywel Dda presented the findings of a “transport infrastructure analysis,” stating that both sites had bus services that are “infrequent” and “short,” making shift work difficult.

Plan for ‘site C’ in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to ‘site C’

For Whitland, it noted that there was an approximate 750m walking distance from the train station to the hospital site, with recommended walking distance of 400m, and that local roads do ‘not appear’ to suffer from significant congestion during a typical weekday. 

In St Clears, the report highlighted the impact a planned new railway station – expected to open in 2024 – could have on the town, saying it would be a ‘major boost’ to the area providing viable alternative car travel, with it being understood there is a commitment to increase the frequency of services at some stations along the west Wales line from two hourly to hourly.

Plans for ‘site 17’ in St Clears
Travel time analysis for population ‘site 17’ in St Clears

After it was announced that Narberth would not be the site of the new hospital, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Maria Battle, assured the residents of Pembrokeshire that their concerns would be taken into account.

“Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen,” said Ms Battle.

Ambulance times to Whitland, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)
Ambulance times to St Clears, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)

“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly.

“Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush hospitals before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”

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Health

Glangwili hospital receive fabric to make laundry bags

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Pictured with some of the laundry bags and squares are Nurse Louise McGee and Health Care Support Worker Abi Jones.

THANKS to donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities has provided fabric to make laundry bags and bonding squares for the Special Care Baby Unit at Glangwili Hospital.

Health Care Support Worker Louise Hughes said: “The laundry bags help parents to be involved in their baby’s care and the fabric squares help in the bonding between mother and baby.

“The laundry bags are placed at the end of each baby’s cot, providing a place to store soiled clothes, ready to be taken home to be washed.

“The laundry bags and squares are made for us by the mother of one of our members of staff, and we would like to thank for her kindness and time in making these.”

Louise added: “Parents tell us they find the bags very useful and have said they look homely which is nice to see when you are sat in a clinical area, and the bonding squares help them feel connected with their baby.”

Hywel Dda Health Charities is the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board. For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

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Health

Glangwili Hospital is first in Wales to administer new osteoporosis medication

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GLANDWILI HOSPITAL has become the first in Wales to administer a new medication that will help patients suffering from osteoporosis. It was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and it the first new osteoporosis drug treatment of its kind for over a decade.

The new treatment – Romosozumab – is now available in Wales for preventing future fractures in patients suffering from osteoporosis.

The bone-building drug is given as a simple injection under the skin. It is highly effective for preventing fractures by the way it acts on bone cells, particularly in postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis. It is one of only two treatments that help to promote bone formation, and the first to reduce bone loss at the same time.

On Thursday 21 July Carole Bevan became the first patient in Wales to receive the medication at Glangwili General Hospital, Carmarthen.

She said: “I am very fortunate to be the first patient in Wales and quite pleased at being considered and offered this treatment. I did not feel the needle at all and I’m happy to self-administer the injection monthly for the next 12 months.”

Dr Abhaya Gupta, Consultant Physician at Glangwili Hospital, added: “The availability of this drug in Wales is an additional option for treating patients with osteoporosis, many of whom suffer devastating consequences from hip fractures, spine and wrist fractures.

“By its novel mechanism of action this treatment has the potential to revolutionise our approach to treating those people with severe disease who are at very high risk of fracture, especially when it is used as their initial treatment.

“With increasing numbers of elderly patients with osteoporosis, this injection is an additional drug available to specialists to treat these patients, helping to reduce disability and health and social care costs in the long term.”

Catrin Beddoe, a pharmacist at Glangwili Hospital, added: “This is a simple injection given once a month for one year to appropriate elderly female patients suffering from the devastating consequences of fractures, and I am pleased to be part of the specialist osteoporosis team involved in this exciting work.”

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