COVID-19 UPDATE 11/01/21:
COVID-19 case numbers are now very high and rising rapidly across the country, driven by the new variant of COVID-19.
Everyone in England, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, are now required to follow the new national lockdown guidance, which has been set out by the government and applies to the whole population. These restrictions:
- Require people to stay at home, except for specific purposes
- Prevent people gathering with those they do not live with, except for specific purposes.
- Close certain businesses and venues.
- Support children and young people to learn remotely until February half term, except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers who may still attend school.
We understand that the pandemic and the ever-changing rules and restrictions may cause anxiety within our community and we want to do all we can to help. We have therefore had some discussions with our clinics team and would like to share the following in the hope that it may help with individual decision-making.
Children and young people:
- Children and young people are not being adversely affected by COVID-19, including those with underlying health conditions. Even those with significant underlying conditions are coping well with the virus. This is why young patients with BBS, who are generally well, are not being asked by the BBS clinics team to shield.
- Some children and young people who have BBS and who are clinically extremely vulnerable, may be advised by their doctor/hospital team to shield. Doctors will be reviewing whether children in their care are still at highest risk, based on the most recent evidence available and some parents may already have been told by their doctor that they do not need to shield.
- Parents who have not heard already from their child’s hospital doctor or GP, and feel their child may be in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, should contact their hospital team, (for example renal or respiratory team) or GP for advice.
- During the first wave, there was little knowledge about the virus and how it might affect someone with BBS, so much of our community were advised to shield as a precautionary measure. BBS in itself is not now considered to be an additional risk factor, and so those with the Syndrome who are otherwise well, and who do not have any of the conditions listed in the clinically extremely vulnerable group will not be asked to shield, however they are advised to take extra care to follow the rules and minimise contact with others.
- There may be some members of our community who may fall within the clinically extremely vulnerable group, (i.e. dialysis, post-transplant, chronic kidney disease stage 5 or severe respiratory disease) who may be asked by their GP or hospital team to shield; if any of our members have concerns in this respect, they should contact their hospital team, (for example renal or respiratory team) or GP for advice.
With COVID-19 case numbers rising rapidly across the whole of the UK, we urge all our members to be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise contact with others, to wear face coverings and to wash hands carefully and frequently. Information about the new NATIONAL LOCKDOWN starting 5th January 2021 can be found via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus .
The new lockdown and re-introduction of shielding will no doubt cause stress and anxiety within our community and we are going to need to support each other more than ever; rest assured, as a charity, we will be looking at ways we can strengthen the support of our membership through the coming weeks and months. However, for now we should remember that we have all faced and coped with difficult times and uncertainty in the past and have already come through two lockdowns – we have grown in resilience and have strengthened as a community and we will get through this together.