Welcome to the week 10 lockdown liveblog. Over the weekend we’ve seen the first 5 COVID-19 deaths in our region after a full five days without fatalities. There were also a handful of new cases only. Monday’s update will be after 2pm for deaths, and in the evening for new cases.
Follow the week 11 coronavirus lockdown updates from Lincoln and Lincolnshire here
1,780 coronavirus cases in Greater Lincolnshire (up from 1,779)
- 1,111 in Lincolnshire (remained unchanged)
- 514 in North Lincolnshire (up from 513)
- 155 in North East Lincolnshire (remained unchanged)
315 COVID-19 deaths in Greater Lincolnshire (up from 314)
- 133 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (no change)
- 3 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
- 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
- 109 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (up from 108)
- 69 in Lincolnshire County Council-managed care homes (no change)
274,762 cases, 38,489 deaths in total
DATA SOURCE — FIGURES CORRECT AT THE TIME OF the latest update
Two local COVID-19 deaths on Monday
One at Lincolnshire hospitals (ULHT) and one in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG)
A spokesperson for ULHT said:
“Sadly we can confirm that a further patient who was being cared for in our hospitals, and had tested positive for COVID-19, has died. This brings the total number of deaths in ULHT hospitals to 130.
Their family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”
Retail stores and garden parties in next lockdown relaxation
The next phase of lockdown relaxation could see gatherings of up to 10 people allowed, as we prepare for life with social distancing.
The latest proposals put forward by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a cabinet meeting could see our “social bubbles” increase to allow for garden parties and barbecues in June.
There has also been a push for the retail sector to open again, with Mr. Johnson’s announcement yesterday outlining when shops will be allowed to reopen.
The majority of stores are being given the go-ahead to open on June 15, with phased returns planned for more sectors towards the end of June.
Lincolnshire leaders defend Cummings, but health officials fear message could be “damaged”
Lincolnshire leaders have rallied to defend the Prime Minister’s chief aide Dominic Cummings after he came under criticism for journeys he took while the Coronavirus lockdown was in effect.
Public health leaders trying to keep the general public complying with safety measures, however, have admitted the latest news could make that message hard to enforce.
Mr Cummings held a press conference yesterday, in which he defended a 260-mile drive in March from his home to County Durham with his ill child and wife.
He said he acted reasonably and legally in going to stay on his parents’ farm and made no apology for his actions.
Independent Lincoln clothing shop closes and moves online only
An alternative clothing shop serving Lincoln for 25 years has closed and will now move online after trying to cope with the challenges of the coronavirus lockdown.
Salamander on Park Street sells a large selection of ethnic, festival, steampunk clothing and accessories.
However, after sleepless nights, owner Kim posted on Facebook on Saturday, May 23 about her decision to close the shop and move online, in what was a “big and emotional day,” as it was exactly 25 years since the shop first opened its doors.
Police attend 100 coronavirus calls over Bank Holiday weekend – but didn’t fine anyone
Lincolnshire Police attended more than 100 COVID-19 related incidents over the Bank Holiday weekend but handed out no fines to people.
Deputy Chairman of the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum Mark Baxter confirmed officers had attended 42 incidents on Saturday and 62 incidents on Sunday with powers to move people on only used in 34 of those.
Mr Baxter said the responses included visitors to the coast as well as those having house parties and barbecues.
However, he said: “Enforcement is a last resort and it does seem that once people are being spoken to by the police they are being extremely compliant and adhering to the requests.”
Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Northern Lincolnshire, total now 97
There have been two more COVID-19 related deaths in Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals, but no further official reports in Lincolnshire today.
The deaths bring the total in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals to 97.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust remains unchanged at 130 deaths, along with three at Lincolnshire Community Health Service and one at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust facilities.
Nationally, a further 116 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus have died in England’s hospitals, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths to 25,866.
Thousands visit Lincoln Castle for first re-opening weekend
Around 2,500 people visited Lincoln Castle over the bank holiday weekend whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Lincoln Castle re-opened its grounds to the public on Saturday, May 23, which remain open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.
It was the first time the iconic building had been open to the pubic since the middle of March and social distancing measures, including a one way system, were put in place.
Greater Lincolnshire leaders want devolution for speedy COVID-19 recovery
Councils in Greater Lincolnshire have taken the “first steps” in revisiting plans for a devolved authority as coronavirus recovery begins.
The leaders of Lincolnshire County Council, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire have written to the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick as part of their “collective ambitions for devolution to Greater Lincolnshire with options for local government re-organisation”.
In the letter authored by LCC leader councillor Martin Hill, he noted the “unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.”
“As we progress through to the recovery phase of this crisis there is going to be a need to grow the economy at a faster pace and to higher levels than before,” he said.
The leaders believe a devolved government would enable the Greater Lincolnshire “economic powerhouse” to unlock routes to new markets and enable them to take advantage of opportunities for growth and transformation.
Government ramps up PPE production as country sees lowest deaths in six weeks
Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced a “mammoth effort” to create two billion pieces of Personal Protective Equipment in the UK at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing.
This, he said was on top of new contracts for 3.7 billion gloves.
“These new supplies mean we are not simply keeping up with demand, we are able to begin replenishing our supplies,” he said.
Mr Hancock also used the briefing to announce a new trial of an anti-viral drug on selective NHS patients.
He said there had been some promising results which show it could shorten recovery time.
“This is probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began,” he said.
The announcements come on the day the Office for National Statistics revealed figures which showed that the number of overall deaths were the lowest in six weeks.
Elsewhere in the UK, Northern Ireland saw no COVID-19 related deaths on bank holiday Monday.
Today’s figures show there’re have now been 265,227 cases (up 2,004) of coronavirus overall and 37,048 deaths (up 134).
The national COVID-19 testing coordinator Professor John Newton also told the briefing that the number of coronavirus hospital admissions in England was down to 471 – the lowest since records began.
Over 200 schools in Lincolnshire to re-open on June 1
Over 200 schools in Lincolnshire will re-open on June 1.
During lockdown, many schools that stayed open only for vulnerable children and those of key workers.
Primary schools will re-open at the earliest on June 1, beginning with the youngest pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Halfords to fully re-open one Lincoln store
Halfords will fully re-open 53 stores across the country by Friday, including the outlet on Tritton Road in Lincoln, as customers will be allowed inside for the first time since March.
The bike and car parts retailer opened a number of stores over the recent bank holiday weekend and 53 will be open by Friday, May 29.
This follows successful tests at its Peterborough and Bristol Cribbs Causeway stores and the government’s recent decision that most non-essential retailers could open from June 15.
McDonald’s to re-open all drive-thrus next week
The wait to get your McDonald’s fix is nearly over after the fast food giant announced it would re-open every drive-thru by June 4.
Every drive-thru, including the four in Lincoln – Ropewalk, Newark Road, Moorland Way and at the Carlton Centre – will re-open between Tuesday and Thursday next week.
McDonald’s will release the locations of the re-opening restaurants on the morning of each day.
Northern Lincolnshire Coronavirus deaths reach 100-mark
There have now been 100 reported COVID-19 deaths in Grimsby and Scunthorpe, but no further Coronavirus deaths were recorded in Lincolnshire today.
The latest government statistics revealed three new deaths connected to Coronavirus in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals (Grimsby and Scunthorpe), up from 97.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust remains unchanged at 130 deaths, along with three at Lincolnshire Community Health Service and one at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust facilities.
Nationally, a further 183 people who tested positive for the Coronavirus have died, bringing the total number England hospitals to 26,049.
Lincolnshire below national average for COVID-19 infections
Lincolnshire bosses tackling coronavirus have placed Lincolnshire between 0.7-1 on the government’s R infection rate.
Deputy chairman of the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “It’s at the lower end of that scale. We are below the national average”.
The national figure also sits between 0.7-0.9.
Keeping R below 1 is one of the goals government has set in order for the gradual releasing of lockdown to continue.
When the five level system was announced the rate was 0.5-0.9 nationally, but then rose slightly before levelling out for two weeks in a row.
Nando’s resumes delivery service in Lincoln
You can now get Nando’s delivered to your door in Lincoln again during lockdown after the restaurant chain announced it was gradually firing its grills back up across the country.
The restaurant on Brayford Wharf North was already accommodating local customers through a click and collect service.
But in delicious news, the Lincoln restaurant is now beginning to deliver again too.
Fantasy Island gradually re-opening from next week, but Butlins won’t open until July
Fantasy Island will gradually re-open from next week, as it looks to adapt during the coronavirus lockdown, but the local branch of Butlins will stay closed until July.
The family attraction on Sea Lane in Ingoldmells, Skegness closed on March 22 in line with lockdown guidelines.
Fantasy Island’s Market will now be open to visitors from Wednesday, June 3. The market will remain free entry, but pets will not be allowed access to the market for the foreseeable future.
Woman, 95, applauded out of hospital after recovering from COVID-19
A 95-year-old woman was applauded out of a Spalding hospital as she was wheeled through the corridor on her way home after two months of coronavirus treatment.
Violet Sismey spent two months being treated at Johnson Community Hospital in Spalding.
Staff, who were all wearing face masks, lined the corridor to spontaneously clap Violet on her way when she was discharged on May 21.
Coronavirus testing opened to everyone as test and trace launched
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that testing for coronavirus has now been opened to those under the age of five, meaning anyone can now get a test.
It comes on the day that the government’s test and trace scheme in England is launched ready for a 9am start tomorrow.
The scheme will help identify and control COVID-19 by tracing the people that came into contact with someone carrying the virus.
Mr Hancock said it would enable “local action” to take place rather than a national lockdown.
Anyone who tests positive from now on will be contacted by the NHS test and trace team in order to share information with who they most recently came into contact with.
Mr Hancock said it was “very important anyone with symptoms must self isolate and get a test”.
“To protect your friends and family, testing and tracing must become a new way of life,” he said.
He said the new measures will help “thwart” the progress of the virus and “ultimately defeat” its spread.
For now, he said, the scheme would be voluntary, but would be able to be made mandatory if needed.
He urged people to “play their part” in helping the service to succeed.
St Barnabas Hospice to open ‘drive-thru’ donation service
St Barnabas Hospice will open a special ‘drive-thru’ donation service in Lincoln and is also planning on a phased re-opening of its charity shops.
Plans are currently underway for a ‘Book and Bring’ Donation Drive-Thru at the warehouse on Cardinal Close in Lincoln.
People will be able to book a time slot and bring their donations to the car park, which has a one-way system that customers can use like a drive-thru. Full details for the Donation Drive-Thru are currently being finalised and will be announced in due course.
Council leaders to take on Lincolnshire coronavirus pandemic response
Lincolnshire council leaders will take on responsiblity for the response to the coronavirus pandemic locally.
A new board of county and district members as well as key health, education and business leaders has been set up as the government moves on to its next phase of recovery from COVID-19.
The deputy director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council Tony McGinty said the new board will receive devolved powers from the Secretary of State to enable them to react to local outbreaks – though it’s not clear yet which powers those will be.
County council leader Martin Hill is currently “heavily involved” in talking to partners, he said.
Five Lincolnshire KFCs open for delivery and drive-thru now
At least five Lincolnshire branches of KFC are open for both delivery and drive-thru as customers in the county look to get their fried chicken fix.
A further two stores – in Skegness and Sleaford – are open for drive-thru only.
Lincoln MP defends travel advice to constituent
Lincoln’s MP Karl McCartney has said the full context of travel advice given to a constituent, which has recieved criticism online, was missing the “fullest” details.
In a post being shared across Facebook and Twitter, Lincoln resident Katrina Harris says she “asked our MP if I could take my four month old on a 250-mile journey to see my parents in Devon and this is his response.”
The email could have been a jibe related to the Dominic Cummings scandal, and whose actions the Conservative Lincoln MP defended earlier in the saga.
Mr McCartney’s email is then shown to say: “The government have advised people to use their common sense at this difficult time.
“If you believe you are acting in the best interests of your family, then do so.”
The post has garnered criticism online, including from the city’s ousted Labour MP Karen Lee, who said it merited “further explanation and a comment from Lincoln’s Member of Parliament”.
When contacted, Mr McCartney said he would not break confidentiality of private emails.
However, he added: “Suffice to say, the context which the constituent has supplied (in a Facebook post, rather than her original email) isn’t the fullest detail of her original email to me, and the overarching reason for why I replied as I did has not been included in her summary.
Lincolnshire schools trust delays re-opening primary academies
A multi academy trust in Lincolnshire will begin a phased re-opening of its primary and secondary academies on June 15.
Over 200 schools in Lincolnshire will re-open on June 1, including academies.
However, the Tollbar Multi Academy Trust felt this date was too premature for opening any of its eight academy schools (primary, secondary and sixth form college).
The trust will begin a phased re-opening of its academies to a small number of year groups, with some on a part-time basis.
Three further COVID-19 deaths across Greater Lincolnshire
There have been three further coronavirus-related deaths across Greater Lincolnshire.
According to the latest government statistics there has been one further COVID-19 death at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust facilities, bringing the total to 131.
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole has also seen a further two deaths reported bringing its total to 102.
Nationally, a further 185 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths England hospitals to 26,234.
IMP-ressive scrubs created at Lincoln university’s fashion departmen
The University of Lincoln’s fashion department has helped to create Imps-themed scrubs, alongside community sewers in and around the city, for workers at Lincoln County Hospital.
National campaign ‘For The Love Of Scrubs’ was set up by Ashley Lindsell, who is a nurse at Boston Pilgrim Hospital.
Fiona Robertson, who is a technician at the University of Lincoln and an Imps season ticket holder, is running the project locally alongside Holly Byrant and Pearl Constance.
Volunteers, including former students, technicians and over 400 community sewers have been cutting and sewing scrubs for healthcare workers in Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire hospitals never hit capacity during coronavirus crisis
Lincolnshire’s hospitals have not reached capacity during the coronavirus crisis, bosses have confirmed.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs facilities in Lincoln, Boston and Grantham, had plenty of capacity available according to Chief Executive Andrew Morgan.
He said that at one point in fact, the hospitals had 600 empty beds, but was now starting to fill up again as some non-elective admissions and emergency activity began to build up.
Currently the hospital has 214 empty beds.
“We had lots of capacity available which is as you would expect us to do,” he said.
“We had a plan for the worst and hope for the best approach, so no, we did not reach our capacity.”
Up to six people allowed to meet in gardens from Monday
Up to six people will be allowed to meet outside from Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.
The move will allow people to meet in private gardens as long as they continue to keep to social distancing rules.
However, Mr Johnson warned people to continue to be “alert”.
“For many people this will be a long awaited and joyful moment, but I must stress that to control the virus everyone must act responsibly,” he said.
People will still not be allowed inside the homes of family and friends, unless it is to access the garden.
He said the steps announced today, which also included the reopening of some school settings and outdoor retail and car showrooms, will still be dependent on the five key tests and whether a second wave is risked.
“I cannot, and will not, throw away all the gains we have made together, so the changes we are making are limited and cautious,” he said.
“This package has been carefully designed to ease the burdens of the lockdown while expecting more to keep R (rate of infection) below 1.”
R is currently between 0.7 and 1 – above one the spread of the virus grows, below it decreases.
“What we’re proposing is still just a fraction of the interaction each of us would usually enjoy.
“This is frustrating but unavoidable given the nature of the invisible enemy we are fighting. Asking for everyone’s patience as we work through this together.”
During the briefing Mr Johnson said the current situation was passing its five key tests to moving forward.
Take a picnic, don’t have a barbecue, advise Lincolnshire health bosses
County health bosses have warned people to “err on the side of caution” following the government’s announcement that up to six people can now meet outside.
They have also suggested an alternative to the Prime Minister’s confirmation that people can now hold barbecues.
Director of public health Derek Ward said he had “absolutely no problem” with the changes, but said the key messages remained the same.
“We’ve done really well in the county because we’ve stuck to the rules, but we do need to err on the side of caution,” he said.
“I know it’ll be tempting not to, but if we can keep two metres apart at all times that’s the way to stay on top of the virus,” he added.
Lincolnshire County council staff to work from home for six more months
Staff at Lincolnshire County Council are set to work from home for another six months in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood some of the more than 5,000 employees of the authority were notified of the intentions on Thursday.
Chief executive of the council Debbie Barnes confirmed the decision, which she said was based on government guidance, a “need to promote the health and well-being of our workforce.”
The guidance states that employees who can work from home, should do so.
“The majority of our staff have been working very effectively from home since the pandemic and restrictions began back in March and we are confident they can continue to provide an excellent service from home,” she said.
Belton House to re-open grounds next week
The National Trust’s Belton House in Grantham will re-open its parkland and gardens from next week.
The National Trust said it will begin a phased and gradual re-opening of a small number of its gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland from June 3.
Only members and visitors who have booked tickets beforehand will gain entry to limit numbers and maintain public safety.
10 new Lincolnshire coronavirus stats we learned this week
As government coronavirus regulations are relaxed further this week, health officials are praising a downward trend in figures which are leading the virus response.
As restrictions are eased, hospitals are also cautiously also re-starting some key services– including cardiac, heart, cancer, primary care and community services – especially after not hitting capacity so far throughout the pandemic.
According to the latest official statistics released by government yesterday, in Lincolnshire there have been 1,101 confirmed cases, with 135 deaths across hospital trusts – 131 at ULHT, one at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust and three at Lincolnshire Community Health Service.
Lincolnshire County Council has confirmed 69 deaths in its care homes.
A caveat here is that the figures are disputed by some health experts for various reasons, with some believing the numbers to be much higher.
We spoke to United Lincolnshire Hospital’s Trust Andrew Morgan in a bid to find out more facts about the virus response so far.
Lincoln barbers patiently await re-opening
One of the hottest topics of lockdown has been haircuts, with everyone realising just how much they miss their barber.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown relaxation means a lot of the retail sector can resume on June 15.
A notable absence from the list of re-openings are barbershops and salons though, with those businesses staying closed until at least July 4.
The Lincolnite spoke to Lincoln-based barbers Castle Barber and Gentry about their feelings about the updates.
Lincoln dentist “furious, shocked and highly stressed” by June re-opening deadline
A dentist in Lincoln has told The Lincolnite about his frustrations and concerns about health chiefs’ call for dental centres to re-open in June.
Sara Hurley, the chief dentistry officer for England, said that dentists across the country will be told to return to service on June 8.
Kapil Sanghi of West Parade Dental Care said he “is disappointed at how the announcement was rushed and managed very poorly, with absolute no communication to the profession.
Over 250 Lincolnshire hospitals staff had coronavirus, one died
More than 250 hospital staff in Lincolnshire have had coronavirus according to bosses, with just one death of a nurse.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive Andrew Morgan confirmed that so far 1,836 staff have notified the trust that they have been tested for the virus.
However, the figure could be higher due to staff not being required to notify the trust when they take a test.
So far, 251 of those tests have come back positive.
The 13.67% infection rate is far lower than the East Midlands average, which last week was 18%.
There has been one further reported COVID-19 death in Lincolnshire’s hospitals today.
The latest government statistics mean there have now been 132 deaths at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust facilities.
Along with no changes in number at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust and Lincolnshire Community Health services, the total hospital deaths for Lincolnshire now stands at 136.
There were no further deaths, however, in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals which remains at 102.
Nationally, a further 149 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus have died, bringing the total in England’s hospitals to 26,383.
How two Lincoln schools adapted ahead of re-opening
Over 200 schools are due to re-open in Lincolnshire on June 1 in line with government guidance, but the environment is likely to be different to what pupils were used to just a few months ago.
The Lincolnite spoke to two local schools to find out how they plan to ensure the safest possible return for staff and students.
Both Navenby CE Primary School and Lincoln Minster School will have new safety measures in place, including social distancing markers, staggered start/finish and break times, as well as classes being split into smaller groups.
Employers asked to start paying towards furloughed workers as coronavirus business help ends
Employers will have to begin paying towards furloughed workers salaries as the government begins reining in its business support schemes.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed the plans in the government’s daily briefing today.
Around one million jobs and businesses and 2.3 million self-employed people had been supported by the measures, said Mr Sunak in his speech.
He said: “As we reopen the economy, there is broad consensus… that the furlough scheme cannot continue indefinitely.”
Employers will see no changes during June to July, however, from August will have to pay pension contributions and national insurance – around 5% of a person’s earnings.
From September, employers will then have to pay 10% of a salary, with the government paying 70%.
In October, the final month of the original scheme employers will then have to pay 20% with the government paying 60%.
Flexible furlough schemes have also been brought forward by a month, beginning in July instead of August.
This will allow employers to bring workers back and pay them for a number of working days, while the government pays those not worked – for example Mr Sunak suggested someone could work two days and the government would pay the other three.
Finally, self-employed people will see a applications for a second round of government payments open in August.
This time, they will be paid around 70% of their income from three months work, rather than the original 80%.
However, he was adamant this would be the final grant that would be offered.
7 new COVID-19 deaths in Greater Lincolnshire
In the last 24 hours, 1 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, and 6 in Northern Lincolnshire and Google Hospital Trust.
One new COVID-19 death in Northern Lincolnshire today
No new deaths reported at the Lincolnshire hospitals