Coronavirus York updates: 28th April 2020

Deaths & Recoveries

A TOTAL of 111 patients with coronavirus have now died at York NHS trust hospitals – but more than 170 have been discharged after treatment. It said 69 patients had died at York Hospital, which is an increase of 19 on this day last week.

Home deliveries

A list of “local and independent food out lets near you” leaflet is currently being delivered by Royal Mail to all residents. The list is far from comprehensive particularly in west York. Ward Councillors should have taken responsibility for ensuring that all every store offering home delivery – including takeaways – was included.

NHS is open

There are concerns that fewer people contacting the NHS for non-coronavirus related conditions could create future problems.  As a result, the NHS are reminding people they are very much “open for business” and people should continue to contact them with any health problems they may have.

Residents should contact the NHS by phone or online in the first instance. We have attached key messages from the NHS. This document includes more information about the NHS “open for business” campaign, information on prescriptions, vaccinations, strokes, heart attack cancer and much more. Please share this information where possible.

  You can still contact your GP, 111 online or call 111 for help. If you are told to go to hospital, you must go so the NHS can give you the care you need.


Dentists have stopped providing routine dental care because of the coronavirus pandemic. If people are in need of urgent dental care they should first contact their usual dentist who should be able to triage them over the telephone and give appropriate advice. If they are not registered with a local dentist they need to contact NHS 111 for advice. Out of hours (evenings and weekends)  people should contact NHS 111.

Printed information for residents

The Council says that “our next resident direct mail focuses on health and wellbeing and should be arriving on doorsteps from Friday this week. It will also include a scam leaflet to offer residents advice on how to protect themselves from scams”.

Move the masses

One of the many incredible voluntary and community organisations we are working with is ‘Move the Masses.’

They have today released their latest figures of how much support they are offering across the city. In the past four and a half weeks they have:

  • Delivered 758 prescriptions
  • Made 116 hours worth of welfare calls
  • Paired up 156 people to receive calls and letters.

Their latest tweets are available at

We pass on a number of call from our helpline to move the masses.  This is just one example of several incredible organisations working together to help and protect residents.

Ask a question at the daily government briefing

The government has announced that from today it will answer one question from a member of the public at the daily coronavirus (COVID-19) press conference.

Those asking a question must be over 18 and if your question is chosen, a cabinet minister will answer it during the live broadcast. Questions will be reviewed at midday on the day of the press conference. Only one question will be selected* each day and the Government has advised the public that Ministers will not see the question before the press conference and that questions are chosen by an independent polling organisation, with no involvement from the government.

Residents can ask their question at

*So you would have a rather better chance of winning the lottery!

York Council propaganda wearing thin?

Residents will be getting a bit tired now of the bogus assertions being made by some York Council officials about home food deliveries. Its quite likely that the government box scheme, arranged with supermarkets, to address the needs of extremely vulnerable groups is going well. We have heard nothing recently which suggests otherwise

The Council also says that they are satisfying the demand for information about paid for doorstep food delivery.

We don’t think that they are.

They say, “The council’s support line is also helping people who can afford to buy their shopping but can’t get a delivery slot, or who people who can’t order online. With a local news provider (YorkMix), we have compiled a list of businesses which are able to deliver food and other services, and this is shared with all residents”.

In reality the list is selective and far from complete. Lists on other commercial websites have similar limitations. Fair enough if they give priority to their regular advertisers (news channels also have to survive in difficult times) but the Council needs to adopt a more even handed approach.

The Council endorsed list excludes conventional takeaways, about 50% of whom are maintaining at least some sort of delivery service in the City. That’s quite important if you are hungry!

It doesn’t mention the situation at supermarkets which normally account for a large proportion of shopping volumes in the City. Pipelines are long (3 weeks +)

Nor is there any mention of pharmacy delivery arrangements.

Some emerging offers – like the elusive extension of “Deliveroo” and other courier services to the suburbs – also merits Council comment.

Perhaps the most concerning issue, for residents wishing to support neighbourhood “indie” outlets, some of whom are struggling to stay afloat, is that many don’t even get a mention.

In the Westfield area there are at least 10 food outlets offering some sort of delivery service. Only one is listed; the Acomb Greengrocer- and good luck to them.

The list looks like an advertising promotion with the information behind the adverts failing to provide – in some cases – even details of contactless ordering and payment options.

There are some examples of good customer service amongst the list. Several traders have grasped the need for an easy to use, prompt and efficient service. They, in particular, will deserve to prosper when things return to “normal”

But until delivery information takes the form of a comprehensive database which can be interrogated, and which is kept up to date in real time, then there will be those who feel it is unfair to those businesses that are not listed.

Currently it is not as useful as it should be and doesn’t warrant a Council endorsement.

Coronavirus York updates – 15th April 2020

Coronavirus cases and deaths in York

Latest figures from Public Health England show there were 149 confirmed cases in the City of York Council area today compared with 129 yesterday.

There have been an additional 2 deaths at the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Council leaders thank York businesses for their swift PPE response

Council leaders have thanked local organisations after 15 businesses and groups responded to the authority’s request for them to share un-used personal protective equipment (PPE).

Last week, City of York Council appealed to the Government for additional personal protective equipment (PPE), and to local businesses for any spare PPE, so it can be used to support the city’s care workers.  Although the council’s care teams currently have sufficient PPE, stocks nationally are running low, and priority is being given to NHS staff.

Offers of help have come in from some unusual sources, including a local croquet club, a cat café, hairdressers, plasterers, dental practices and nail bars.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

“I would like to thank local groups and businesses for their incredible response to our call for additional PPE and we are immensely grateful for what you have given us.

“I have made the case to the Government that additional PPE equipment is urgently needed for our adult social care sector and they must provide assurances about ongoing supplies for the weeks ahead.”

“Social care is at the frontline of the Coronavrius outbreak and I know that in York, our staff are doing an incredible job in extremely difficult circumstances. They are, of course, also doing a dangerous job, putting themselves at risk to protect those most vulnerable.  We must prioritise their safety, alongside the safety of those that they are supporting.”

The items of PPE needed are disposable plastic aprons, gloves, black bags, masks, eye protection goggles, alcohol based hand sanitiser and hard surface wipes.

Anyone who thinks they may have useful PPE should email

Longer queues at Morrisons Acomb this lunchtime

Long queue out onto Front Street from Morrisons Acomb this lunchtime. The store is usually least busy in the late evening period. There is also a long pipeline now for home deliveries from the store (3 weeks).

Lidl is not busy, nor Sainsburys on Beckfield Lane. Tesco Acomb Wood Drive had a queue of 6.

Sadly still no update from the York Council about the publication of a food & pharmacy home delivery database.

Over £34m Coronavirus business payments set to land in businesses accounts this week

Following the council’s promise to accelerate payments of the Government’s business grants to local businesses, over £34m has been processed by the Council to be paid into business bank accounts.

Council officers have worked throughout the Easter weekend to ensure over 2,500 businesses will receive their payments as quickly as possible. Some businesses may get their payment later in the week, as teams carry out rigorous fraud checks to ensure all the claims are genuine. We will also be contacting businesses who are yet to claim.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“Processing these payments and supporting our local businesses is absolutely crucial  and a key priority as part of our coronavirus response.  That is why we have committed to processing these payments faster and Council staff have been working hard over the bank holiday weekend to ensure these payments reach businesses as quickly as possible.

“We know that these payments are vital for York businesses who bring so much to our city. I’m pleased that we will see over £34,000,000 processed and paid to businesses this week and I would encourage any business yet to apply, to visit our website and apply as soon as possible.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, added:

“I would like to thank our teams who have worked tirelessly these past few days to ensure that these payments are ready to be processed as soon as the banks reopened.”

“They have done this whilst ensuring strict checks and balances are met to ensure fraudsters don’t take advantage of this situation.”

“We will continue to prioritise the payment of these grants, so businesses who have been negatively affected by this crisis can be supported.

Since opening applications for the grants the council has received over 3500 applications and has been working to speed up a process which includes government-defined requirements to:

  • collect company information including VAT registration details
  • clear every application through the government’s anti-fraud systems
  • verify bank details and company identity

More on York crematorium

Because of the high risks of spreading Coronavirus (Covid-19), funeral services at York Crematorium have been suspended inside the chapels. This exceptional measure is essential to protect the public, funeral directors and bereavement services staff, and is in line with other local authorities including in West Yorkshire, and the advice given by public health authorities.

Since the guidance was confirmed, the council has released additional details on how Saturday’s decision will be implemented. This means the following options are available to those who have a service planned at the crematorium:

  • close family members will be able to attend the Crematorium and wait for the hearse to arrive. The council will secure a covered space for this purpose
  • the minister/celebrant can spend up to 10 minutes with the family in prayer service and to commit the body outside, depending on faith practice
  • the celebrant/minister can also attend to give a service of 10 minutes within the chapel and we will still provide a short video free of charge for those families who wish for a copy.

Arrangements are also being made to ensure funerals are appropriately scheduled, so that services do not overlap, and that each family group are given plenty of privacy.

The council has also confirmed that on recent discussions with Government officials, the Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Communities has confirmed that they are content with the council’s approach, as agreed on the 11 April 2020.

Once the restrictions have lifted, the council will ensure that services of remembrance at York Crematorium will be offered to all families and a city wide multifaith remembrance ceremony will be held, supported by local faith leaders and the council.

In addition to the confirmed changes at York Crematorium, graveside burial services for York residents at Fulford Cemetery are still permissible, as long as families follow the rules in place which limit the number of mourners outside to 10 people, who must at all times observe social distancing.

Following the announcement of unattended cremations, faith groups and the council has confirmed that they will offer a faith officiant present at the crematorium to undertake the committal of the body according to the appropriate religious rites, and that celebrants or a minister can read your words during the private cremation and that this will be recorded for families.


Coronavirus updates – 4th April 2020

Royal Mail

Details of changes to services click here

Communcations problems and doorstep deliveries

Some questions are now being asked about priorities for doorstep delivery of food packages

A direct to doorstep essential service is being organised by the government. for those classed as critically at risk. Currently and subject to supply an individual box contains; hot beverages (coffee, tea bags), biscuits, bread, cereal, tinned veg, potatoes, long life milk, tinned protein (fish, cold meat excl pork, corned beef), fresh fruit, pasta sauce, pasta and rice, toilet tissue, hand soap or shower gel. This group also gets priority delivery slots from a local supermarket. The criteria for being identified as a member of this group can be found here:

Separately some local GPs have written to some of their patients saying that they may be severely at risk even though they do not have any of the conditions contained in the above guidance. The letters don’t identify what the vulnerability judgement is based on. This group of people does not automatically get food parcels (or priority for supermarket home deliveries) although they are being recommended to stay at home for 12 weeks.

The authorities should clear up this confusion.

Separately forward delivery slots at the Waitrose supermarket are now visible on their web site ( ). Sadly there are no vacancies during the next 3 months!

The Council promised to send an update leaflet, to each household in York, with delivery starting this week. While we doubt the value of this form of communication, against a rapidly changing background, if delivery is delayed then the Council should confirm when (if) the communication will be going out. (see note below on e-newsletter updates.

Mental health and isolation

There is some evidence beginning to emerge that isolation is having an effect on some of those living alone. It is not restricted to the elderly. If you haven’t seen or heard from a neighbour, relative or friend please make a point of telephoning, texting or emailing them. Just to check that they are OK

The Council says, “This is a difficult time for everyone, with friends, families and communities affected by coronavirus.  The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK”.

They share this advice:

Please continue to look after yourselves and each other. Public Health England has published guidance for the public on practical steps people can take to look after their mental wellbeing and specific guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Every Mind Matters platform has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation.

Free school meals

Free school meal payments and provisions are offered to all pupils eligible for benefit based free school meals and will be available during term time while the schools are closed. Provision offers vary and may include school provided meals, grab bags, vouchers or direct payments. This is dependent on each individual school. Schools have been contacting parents/and or guardians directly if their child/children are eligible benefit based for free school meals or meal vouchers. The provision will be made available to children of keyworkers over the Easter period, at the discretion of the school.

Information about applying if circumstances have changed is here:

Resident e-newsletters

Residents can now get e-newsletters from the council straight into their inbox. By signing up to their preferred mailing list via an online form on the council website, residents can choose whether to receive business, resident or families guidance and updates about support or services, or all three.

Visit to find out more and sign up. Residents can also change preferences and unsubscribe to the e-newsletters if they wish.  Members are welcome to register for these e-newsletters too (noting you will still receive this update each evening


Sadly, a number of criminals are using Coronavirus as an opportunity to scam people when they at their most vulnerable.

The police have a list of scams and advice available. Veritau have also produced a list of scams affecting businesses and residents across the country with a number of messages to share on social media.

Tips to keep safe from scams

  • Do not click on links or open attachments in emails and text messages.
  • Take time to check emails or messages are from a legitimate source. Please be aware that fraudsters go to great lengths to make their communications with you look genuine.
  • Delete any suspicious emails or text messages immediately.
  • Don’t let anyone into your home without verifying their identity and checking they have legitimate documentation or an official ID card.
  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Only purchase goods online from trusted and legitimate retailers and if you have one, then use a credit card as this will offer greater insurance.