I have been asked by several residents to provide an update on our situation here in Buckfastleigh.
The Buckfastleigh COVID19 Community Response Team have been magnificent – thankfully we have not had the level of demand that we were preparing for, though in the last few weeks the 80+ active volunteers have…
taken 70-80 Helpline calls a week,
made nearly 300 medicine deliveries,
made about 230 deliveries of food, supplies, books and more,
dealt with a 7-fold increase in the use of the food bank,
…and are making 70+ calls a week to residents to check-in that they are OK and chat.
Thank-you so much to all those who have so generously given their time and energy to help and thanks also to the many more that have offered but who we haven’t yet had to ask for help – hopefully we won’t need to! The Helpline is open and will remain open for the forseeable future – if you need any help or support, please ring 01364 255 819 Mon-Sat between 9:30 and 5:30 (with some emergency cover on Sundays).
Having spoken to local medics, I can say that everything we are doing is working. No more local people have died with the virus. Torbay hospital has currently only 4 infected patients, with none in intensive care at the moment. The number of people in the parish showing symptoms is dropping. Our local care homes are still free from infection.
Tests are now available for people who have symptoms that are going out to work or are over 65 (or live with someone who is). Those at risk are still being advised to self-isolate, as is anyone who’s got symptoms.
The truth is we’ve been lucky here and all that we are doing – the lock-down and social distancing measures – has worked. We have escaped the worst – so far.
And I stress so far, as nothing has fundamentally changed – the virus has not gone away.
It is still out there infecting tens of thousands of people.
A quarter of critical care hospital beds in this country are still occupied by desperately ill people with COVID19.
It’s still deadly.
There is still no drug treatment – and still no vaccination.
The level of testing (in relation to the large number of infected people), is still nowhere near sufficient to track infection and limit it.
We still have shortages of NHS staff, equipment and PPE.
As the government eases lock-down measures, travel increases and more people go back to work and school, the number of people infected will inevitably rise – by how much we do not know.
So I ask you please, as much as you are possibly able, to continue to keep up what you have been doing so far – continue to respect social distance, to be careful of contamination and to limit contact wherever possible.
It is crucial now that we do not become complacent as there is no reason to think we are out of the woods.
Please stay safe and save lives.
Cllr Andy Stokes, Chair of Buckfastleigh Town Council/Mayor of Buckfastleigh