After almost two years of sacrifice, hardship and loss, and having borne witness to the enormous strength and resilience of our communities, we find ourselves once again at a pivotal moment in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sudden rise and rapid spread of the new Omicron variant across the world is naturally causing concern and anxiety, and it is only normal for us all to experience feelings of fear or helplessness.

It is against this backdrop that we can confirm the first case of Omicron in Hywel Dda (Friday 10 December 2021). Together with Public Health Wales colleagues we are closely monitoring the situation and this will continue in the coming weeks.

But we know far more about how we can protect ourselves and our wider communities in the face of COVID-19 than we have done in the past. We need to use this information to our advantage now – both in the NHS, as individuals and in our communities.

Our NHS staff continue to work selflessly hour after hour, day after day in the face of unparalleled pressure and challenge. They continue to prioritise the care and treatment of urgent and emergency cases. Our vaccination programmes for both COVID-19 and flu continue at an unprecedented scale and remain a key part of our defence against these viruses. We continue to provide long term care in our communities and maintain essential primary care services that people receive close to home.

We will continue to do everything in our power to provide care and services as we react to the changing pressures of the pandemic, however, we need people to understand that this is very different to what they may have experienced before. We are working as hard as we can to mitigate against the most serious impacts of this as we respond to the serious challenge that COVID-19 continues to present.

While we are all doing everything we can to keep safe, we are appealing once more to people to do the right thing.

What you can do to help:

Follow Welsh Government and local guidance
Get your COVID-19 and flu vaccinations
Work from home whenever you can if appropriate
Be vigilant with good hygiene practices to avoid spreading infection in our communities
Good ventilation is important if indoors and remember outdoors is safer where possible
Keep a safe distance
Carry out twice-weekly LFD self-tests and particularly before going into higher risk situations, such as spending time in crowded or enclosed spaces (e.g. Christmas parties; Christmas shopping); visiting people who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19; or travelling to other areas of Wales or the UK. Please remember to report the result of your LFD test – negative or positive – here:Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)or call 119.
If it’s positive, don’t go out. Arrange for a PCR test and self-isolate.

If you need to come into our hospitals at any time, you must:
carry out a lateral flow device (LFD) test at home and have a negative result from that test prior to travelling to the hospital. Lateral flow self-test kits can be obtained byOrdering online for home delivery here (opens in new tab) or by collecting locally from most community pharmacies:Check here for participating pharmacies near you (opens in new tab). Please remember to report your test results, negative or positive, on theUK Government portal here (opens in new tab);
wear a mask before entering the hospital;
ensure you maintain a two metres distance from others;
wash your hands regularly.
If you need to visit someone in hospital, please remember this must be pre-booked with the charge nurse or ward sister. More information about hospital visiting is available on our website though please note this is subject to change at short notice.

We all want this pandemic to end, however, COVID-19 remains very much with us and it is more important than ever for us all now to act in a responsible way which protects our most vulnerable in society and our NHS.

 

We are deeply proud of the communities we serve and our staff and the Board stand with you all in these extraordinarily difficult times. Thank you.

 

By Editor

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