Free packs of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in emergencies will be supplied to Early Years providers in Somerset thanks to the County Council.
Early Years staff use gloves and aprons in the ordinary course of their work and will continue to do so as normal.
Current Government guidance is that an adult in a school or Early Years setting only needs to wear the higher level PPE while they are supervising a child showing coronavirus symptoms where they cannot maintain a 2-metre distance from them until they can go home.
The packs for childminders include two face masks and a reusable visor/goggles; individual Early Years settings will receive five masks, four reusable visors/goggles and hand sanitiser. The County Council is contacting Early Years providers with details and advice.
Careful planning and sourcing have made sure that Somerset County Council has enough stocks of PPE to provide day nurseries and childminders, pre-schools and playgroups with emergency packs, similar to those provided for schools that are opening classes to year groups.
Since the initial outbreak of coronavirus, the County Council has worked tirelessly to source PPE for a range of users including schools, care homes, supported living settings, GP surgeries, dentists, at-home care providers, micro-providers, and County Council key workers.
So far, more than 4 million items of PPE have been safely delivered to a centralised point from where they are distributed to users.
The items include 1.7 million face masks, 1.5 million pairs of gloves, 726,000 aprons, 86,000 face shields, and more than 21,000 litres of hand sanitiser. More stock deliveries are expected to maintain supplies.
Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet member for children and families, said: “We are supporting our Early Years settings and the children they care for as much as we possibly can at this difficult time.
“The County Council has worked hard to make sure we have – and maintain – stocks of PPE for distribution.”
For more information about Somerset County Council’s response to the coronavirus emergency please visit http://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus, where you can also sign up for regular email updates.
A single phone number is also available for anyone in Somerset who needs coronavirus-related support from their councils. The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, makes it easier for people to access any local authority help they may need, including emotional support, during the current crisis. Lines are open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm.