COVID DIARIES: Don't break rules on Mother's Day and why school tests are vital

Dave Langley is a clinical care manager with the North East Ambulance Service and features in the BeatCovidNE campaign.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 5:42 pm
Dave Langley
Dave Langley

Dave, 55, from South Shields, has been keeping a diary during life in lockdown.

Here he gives his latest thoughts…

“I think we can all agree that lockdown is working, and the precautions we’re taking - wearing masks, keeping social contact to a minimum and washing our hands regularly - are paving the way to normality.

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But we’re at a precarious point of the pandemic now and it would be wrong to think Covid is something we can start putting behind us. The pandemic is not over.

When schools returned last time, calls to 111 inevitably increased with worried parents and carers unsure if their child has Covid, asking about testing, and wondering whether it’s safe for them to go to school.

Although the NHS is not at an overwhelming point anymore, we’re still extremely busy with both Covid and non-Covid care.

Whilst schools, parents and children have gone through the return to school process already, it’s still important to know which NHS service to contact for different concerns. Visiting your GP or www.111.nhs.uk is a great first port of call for symptoms of Covid or if someone’s feeling unwell.

Of course, in a life- threatening situation always call 999 but 111 online is a really useful resource which can let you know what medical assistance you may need. If it’s strictly about Covid and needing to test the best port of call is 119. You can call this number directly to book a Covid test for you or a family member.

While we’re all talking about the great strides made with the vaccination programme, we also need to understand the importance of testing. Testing is vital to keeping the virus under control. Many NHS workers like us test themselves twice a week so that they’re able to safely carry out their job without spreading the virus. It’s part of our routines now and it’s so important to do as we’re helping to keep people safe.

I know secondary schoolchildren have been asked to do weekly tests as well. Yes, it’s an inconvenience and I completely understand why young people are not keen on doing the tests but think of the bigger picture. By doing so, we’re not only getting kids back into the classroom which I think we all agree is essential but we’re also protecting people. We’re protecting our friends, teachers and everyone else connected to our school communities.

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend and I know how desperate we all are to pop into our mam’s house - I feel the same. Although she’s had the first dose of the vaccine and I’m fully vaccinated, we’re still being cautious. I’m planning a doorstep visit to give her a card and present and enjoy a socially distant catch up with her. We’ll still both wear our masks and remain two metres apart.

With over 21 million people now vaccinated, it’s easy to forget that the key message is still ‘stay at home’. We can’t risk any regional or local spike that might set us back. As well as keeping social contact to a minimum, and not mixing within people’s homes, staying local is important because containing the spread of Covid is still the priority.

If we stick to the rules and participate in the national testing regime we’re massively helping to stop the spread as well as giving the vaccine time to immunise people. I know the end is in sight but we must follow the road map towards it slowly and cautiously."