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High number of Covid-19 cases recorded across Amman Valley and St Clears

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Most cases in the Amman Valley have been linked to known social gatherings

A HIGH number of Covid-19 cases have been identified in the Amman Valley and St Clears areas of Carmarthenshire, and people are being urged to take extra care.

At present the rate of infection in the Amman Valley area is 1,559.53 per 100,000, and 1,578.46 per 100,000 in St Clears (correct as at 15/11/21).

Most cases in the Amman Valley have been linked to known social gatherings – around 30 cases have been linked to just one social venue – but as yet there are no clear links to known gatherings in St Clears.

As a result, Carmarthenshire County Council’s contact tracing team are urging people living, working and socialising at clubs, groups or local community venues in these areas to take extra care.

They are also urging older residents who have been invited for a booster jab to attend their appointments.

Although vaccinations offer the best personal protection against the virus, being fully vaccinated does not stop anyone catching or spreading the infection to others.

So, to help stop the spread of infection, anyone experiencing any of the Covid-19 or wider cold or flu-like symptoms; or anyone who has been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for Covid-19, needs to book a PCR test at a local testing centre as soon as possible and self-isolate until the results are known.

Everyone in these areas is being asked to do their best to help stop the spread of infection – reducing social contact, social distancing and meeting outdoors where possible, wearing a mask where required, maintaining good hand hygiene, and staying at home if unwell.

Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “We are monitoring cases in these areas closely and carrying out enhanced contact tracing to make links and help stop the spread of infection.

“Vaccinations offer the best personal protection against severe illness from the virus, but you can still pass it on even if you are fully vaccinated, so please if you are feeling unwell with cold or flu like symptoms – even if these are mild – book a PCR test and self-isolate until you get your results, and if our contact tracers get in touch please follow their advice.

“Our teams are making contact with social venues where people are most likely to gather offering extra support and advice, and we would like to thank everyone running these venues for their cooperation so far. We are aware that some social venues in the Amman Valley have closed voluntarily until the situation improves.”

If you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms (new or continuous cough, high temperature, loss or change in taste or smell) or wider cold and flu-like symptoms that are new, persistent and/or unusual – even if they are mild – please self-isolate and book a test as soon as possible. 

You can book a home testing kit to be sent to your home, or you can book a test at either the Carmarthen or Llanelli testing sites – visit gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test or call 119 (between 7am and 11pm). 

People with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119.

For added reassurance, anyone without symptoms can also get rapid lateral flow Covid-19 tests delivered to their home, visit gov.wales for further information.

Guidance and advice for residents and businesses can be found at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales

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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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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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