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Coronavirus update – Friday 5 June 2020

We are continuing to look at updated government guidance to bring back as many services as we can over the next few weeks in a safe way for you and our staff.

We have now got over 140 essential services staff out in the community carrying out work like grass cutting and cleaning communal stairwells. We’re planning on bringing some of our housing staff back onto their community patches within the next few weeks so we’ll keep you posted.

In today’s update, we want to let you know about the latest schools advice and what to do on public transport as well as a reminder about the test and trace NHS service and how you can keep us informed if you’ve been traced or tested positive.

Schools guidance

Schools have reopened for primary year groups; Foundation, 1 and 6 and those students due to take their exams in secondary education.

You can find the full breakdown of the government’s school guidance here.

Face coverings and public transport

 The NHS are suggesting that the public wear face coverings when they are in shops or confined spaces to protect themselves and others.

Wearing a face covering on public transport will become compulsory on 15 June and if you are found not wearing one you could be fined or not allowed on board. You can find the full breakdown on public transport guidance here.

Test and trace

Last week the NHS launched its test and trace service. Below outlines how it works and how it can keep both our staff and residents safe.

Part 1: for someone with symptoms of coronavirus

Isolate: As soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms.

Test: Order a test immediately on the NHS website or call 119 if you have no internet access.

Results: If your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 7-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate.

Share contacts: If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text, email alert, or call you with instructions of how to share details of people you have had close, recent contact with and places you have visited.

It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that the NHS can give appropriate advice to those who need it. This can be done online via a secure website or one of the NHS contract tracers will call you.

Contact PCH if you have been in contact with a member of staff: If you have been in contact with staff from PCH in the 14 days before being tested, please contact us to let us know on 0808 230 6500. This will enable us to test that member of staff as quickly as possible, to help minimise the potential rate of infection.

Part 2: If you are contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

Alert: You will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS test and trace website, which is normally the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other – but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do.

Isolate: You will be told to begin self-isolation for 14 days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive. It’s really important to do this even if you don’t feel unwell because, if you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14 days.

Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home.

Test if needed: If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 14 days and you must book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive, you must continue to stay at home for at least 7 days and the NHS will get in touch to ask about your contacts since they must self-isolate. If your test is negative, you must still complete your 14-day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet - this is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

More information can be found on the Government website.

Latest service announcements

Essential services

We have recently been reintroducing the following five services over the last couple of weeks:

  • Voids clearance and repairs on empty homes
  • Estates grass cutting
  • Trees work
  • Stairwell cleaning
  • Fly-tipping clearance

We are receiving a number of requests following the return of these services and it will take us some time to cover all our estates, so we ask that you bear with us as we work through them.

We also want to avoid residents coming to any of our sites unless absolutely vital so the City Centre Shop and Plumer House will remain closed to our staff and the public until further notice.

The Beacon

The Beacon will remain closed to the public, but will open for commercial tenants and their staff, including the children’s nursery.

House sales

As part of the Government’s plans to get the housing market started again, one of the major services we are resuming is our SO Living team who will be able to carry out virtual viewings and continue to sell our homes on our new estates. We will be observing all safety rules enabling buyers to move safely during the process.   

Construction sites

Following Government advice our contractors are beginning to work safely on our sites. Over the next few weeks, residents living in a property that is being worked on will receive a letter to say when work will restart and be given advice on how we are going to work safely for residents and staff.

Minimising risks

As people gradually return to work, there are some extra general safety measures that we will be following including:

  • Limiting contact with residents and other staff.
  • Using the same teams where work needs to be carried out by more than one person.
  • Providing staff with suitable protective equipment to be able to carry out their jobs safely.
  • We will be asking our staff to observe 2 metre social distancing with residents where possible.
  • We will ask you if you or anyone in your home is suffering from Covid-19 symptoms before we arrive.
  • When a repair is being carried out at your home it is advisable to move to a different room and allow our operatives to complete the repair. 

Emergency Repairs

We continue to provide emergency repairs to residents. These can be reported on 0808 230 6500.

If your repair is not an emergency, please take a look at one of our video repair guides

Remote repairs inspections  

We are looking to trial a remote repairs inspection service over the next few weeks which will mean that a trained repairs operative will be able to video call you so you can show them what needs fixing.

It could be that we can help you to fix something over the video call or decide to send someone to your home. This will protect you from having unnecessary visitors in your home and keep you safe. Keep an eye out for this in the coming weeks.

Reporting anti-social behaviour

We’re working with police teams on reports of anti-social behaviour which you can report to us on 0808 230 6500 or 0800 0287377(out of hours). 

Laundries

Laundries will remain open so residents can do their washing. Please remember to stay at least 2 metres away from other people while using the laundries.

Rent and finances

We are committed to making sure that we can help you so it’s important to contact us as soon as possible if you have any money worries. We’d like to reassure our residents that we will not evict anyone due to a loss of income as a result of coronavirus. Call us on 0808 230 6500.

Fly-tipping

Plymouth City Council have opened Chelson Meadow recycling centre for essential use.

You can report fly-tipping to us on 0808 230 6500.

Please be aware that our Rangers are dealing with fly-tipping that is causing a fire risk or concern as a priority as we begin to return to normal.

Devon Home Choice

We re-started advertising properties on Devon Home Choice this week so applicants can go on and start bidding for homes again.

Sheltered housing schemes

It is particularly important that we limit the potential spread of coronavirus in our sheltered housing schemes, as it is more likely people living there will fall into one of the vulnerable groups highlighted by Government.

We’d ask people with relatives in our sheltered housing schemes not to visit unless providing essential care or support.

  • Our staff will only visit in person when there is an emergency or essential action needed.
  • Our staff will be staying in contact with residents by phone or video call wherever possible.
  • Our staff will follow safely and hygiene precautions in line with Government guidance.

PCH Manufacturing

We’ve had to make the extremely difficult and sad decision to close PCH Manufacturing from 31 August 2020. More detailed information regarding the closure can be found here.

Contacting us

Please be assured that we will continue to do whatever we can to support our residents, especially those who are old or vulnerable.

You can use our self-service portal MyPCH to check your rent balance, get in touch and update your contact details.

We’d also encourage residents to stay up-to-date with the latest PCH news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

If things are getting too much, don’t suffer in silence. You can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 200 0247 or the Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service on 0800 458 2558. There’s also information here.

These have been testing times for everyone and as restrictions are gradually being lifted, it is important, now more than ever to continue to follow the latest Government advice.

We are thankful of the supportive response we’ve had from our residents as we’ve worked to keep essential services online to support you and the city.

Your safety and that of our staff and contractors is always at the forefront of our minds when making decisions on how and when we restore our services.

Thank you for your continued patience, and stay safe.