CHESHIRE West and Chester Council says that it will support and shield people classed as being highly vulnerable during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This follows a national call to action as part of the next stage in the response to coronavirus.

The council will be part of a national network of ‘hubs’, which will provide targeted support for those people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Council leader Louise Gittins said: “People at the highest risk from the coronavirus are being advised by the NHS to protect themselves through isolation from others for 12 weeks.

“This will be a huge challenge for them personally, and they will need support and solidarity from family and friends, the local community and their council.

“Physical distance does not need to mean social isolation.

“The council is preparing to provide support, through our local hubs, and to tap into the huge and encouraging response from community organisations and volunteers across the borough.

“We will be releasing more information on the steps we are taking over the next few days.”

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.

The government is strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients.
  • People with severe respiratory conditions, including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell).
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

Also considered to be extremely vulnerable are people with the following specific cancers:

  • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.