Rail noise warning

News just in from Network Rail. The company is going to be carrying out improvement work in the Newtonhill area, with access being taken from the former station sidings.

The work will take place between 10pm and 8am from Sunday 25 October until Thursday 29 October, and then from Sunday 1 November until Thursday 5 November.

They will be using chainsaws, a small digger, chipper, lighting and a generator so there is likely to be some unavoidable noise.

Positive Covid tests in Portlethen

There have been a small number of positive tests for coronavirus in Portlethen.

Data from Public Health Scotland today shows there have been up to four positive cases in the town between 7 and 13 October. This puts the town fifth equal in a list of communities across Aberdeenshire.

As a result the town has a seven-day rating of 30-49 cases per 100,000 population.

You can monitor what is happening here via Public Health Scotland: https://public.tableau.com/profile/phs.covid.19

The maps, as shown below, use neighbourhoods defined by the Scottish Government.

Covid-19: latest restrictions

The First Minister has outlined new regulations on face coverings and details of how businesses affected by last week’s temporary restrictions can apply for support.

She made the announcement ahead of the next review of Covid restrictions, due to take place tomorrow (Friday, 16 October).

With trends showing high numbers of new cases, the First Minister confirmed to the Scottish Parliament that all of the existing Covid restrictions and guidance will remain in place for now, namely that:

  • People should continue to work from home where possible
  • Nobody should visit other people’s houses – except for extended household arrangements or essential reasons like childcare or looking after a vulnerable person
  • Gatherings must be limited to a maximum of six people from no more than two households both outdoors and public places indoors
  • Bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes outside the five health board areas with tougher restrictions can only open indoors until 6pm for the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • People should not travel to Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley, where there are tighter restrictions, unless absolutely necessary
  • People should avoid travel to areas of high risk in other parts of the UK, details of which will be kept updated on the Scottish Government website
  • Specifically, people should not travel to Blackpool unless necessary

The First Minister went on to introduce new regulations on face coverings, with two measures due to come into force from tomorrow (Friday, 16 October).

  • Couples will not have to wear face coverings during their marriage or civil partnership ceremony.
  • From tomorrow, anybody in a workplace canteen will have to wear a face covering when they are not seated at a table (e.g. when queuing, entering or leaving the canteen, or going to the bathroom)

A further change affecting workplaces will take effect from Monday, 19 October: From Monday, it will be a requirement for face coverings to be worn in other communal workplaces such as corridors.

Reassurance over flu jabs

Although most people are receiving their annual flu jab there have been some hiccups with the new system, such as invitation letters arriving after the appointment or difficulties with the helpline.

This morning NHS Grampian told councillors: “The newly-established telephone helpline and email address to support the flu vaccination programme has experienced a surge in enquiries that staff are struggling to cope with at present.

“This is due, in part, to the late arrival of appointment letters which we are working closely with Royal Mail to resolve.

“We are developing a solution to address the call/email backlog at pace and will be making arrangements to ensure all those who are eligible for the free ‘flu jab and may have missed appointments will have the opportunity to receive them.”

I hope this reassures folk.

When I had my jab at Portlethen Academy this week, everything was working very smoothly.

More library services restart

From next week, Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Click & Collect and Doorstep Delivery library services will roll out to more communities.

Libraries introducing the services this month are: Turriff (22nd), Mearns (27nd) and Aboyne (31st).

November: Alford, Westhill and New Pitsligo (2nd); Macduff (4th); Balmedie (5th); Cruden Bay (6th), Portlethen (9th), Cairnbulg and Kemnay (12th), Kintore and Rosehearty (19th), Banff and Inverbervie (26th).

It is already in place in Ballater, Banchory, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Inverurie, Oldmeldrum, Peterhead, and Stonehaven.

You can find out more and book a slot at: https://bit.ly/CnCLLA

Helping hand

Aberdeenshire Council is providing school meal payments directly to eligible families in the absence of holiday hunger schemes during the October holiday.

The local authority will continue to use its Scottish Government Food Fund allocation to support families to access this free school meal provision in the same way as it did during the summer period.

In addition to the £2.50 payment per lunch per day, a £1 breakfast payment will also be allocated.

More here: https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/apps/news/release.aspx?newsid=6952

Newtonhill junction to close

BEAR Scotland is to close the slip roads on the A92 at Newtonhill northbound tomorrow night (Wednesday). This is to carry out road markings on the slips.

The work is scheduled to take place between 7.30pm and 6.30am.

They have liaised with Stagecoach and the buses will still be able to gain access to Newtonhill.

The company has provided maps (below) showing diversion routes.

Covid-19: Newtonhill warning

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UPDATE 16 OCTOBER: The figure for Newtonhill has returned to zero.
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Newtonhill has recorded a concerning number of cases of Covid-19 in the past few days.

Cases are calculated per 100,000 over seven days so in Newtonhill while there are only around 2, 3 or 4 cases it is enough to red flag the risk in public health terms. I have taken a screen shot (below) which has Newtonhill second top of the Aberdeenshire list.

The data was collected between 4 and 10 October.

Please take care, follow the rules and get the numbers per 100,000 down.

This virus spreads quickly. A villager was very seriously ill in hospital earlier this year with coronavirus so this is something you really want to avoid.

The population figure for Newtonhill used in these calculations was 2895. However the National Records for Scotland put the figure in 2016 at 3140: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/media/23885/kincardineandmearnsprofile.pdf

You can monitor what is happening here via Public Health Scotland: https://public.tableau.com/profile/phs.covid.19

Changes to fire alarm law

Today the postie delivered a leaflet from a private company about installing smoke detectors and suchlike due to a change in the law. Is this a hoax? No, the Scottish Government is indeed changing the law with a deadline of February next year.

The Scottish Government today published a briefing on what is required of all householders: https://www.gov.scot/publications/fire-and-smoke-alarms-in-scottish-homes/

If there has been recent publicity by the government then I have missed it!