Coronavirus: letter to council tenants

Published: Wednesday, 18th March 2020

Letter to residents of council homes in Oxford about the coronavirus outbreak.

Dear resident,

We are writing to all of our council tenants today to provide you and your family with information and guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19).

We are working hard to ensure that all of the services that you rely on remain in place, but some of our services will need to change if you or someone in your household is in self-isolation.

Please take some time to read this letter carefully, and keep it in a safe place so you can refer to it in an emergency.

Repairs

If you need a repair to your property, please contact us as normal by calling: 01865 249811.

You must let us know, when you are making your booking, if you are self-isolating for one of the following reasons:

  • You or someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus
  • You or someone in your household has been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus

This will enable us to deploy repair people in protective equipment to keep them, and all the other families they visit that day, safe.

Waste and recycling

Your waste and recycling collections will remain on the same day as normal.

However, if you or someone in your household has a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus, please follow these steps:

  • Double bag your personal waste (tissues, disposable cleaning cloths, etc)
  • Store this separately from any other waste in your home for 72 hours
  • After 72 hours, dispose of the waste via your refuse collections (green bin) with the lid closed

If no one in your household has a suspect or confirmed case of coronavirus, please put your waste and recycling out as normal.

Rent and benefit payments

Some people may be concerned about their financial situation over the coming days and weeks. If you are in this situation, we will do all we can to help you and your family.

If you need support or advice about claiming benefits, or you think you will have difficulty making rent or council tax payments as a result of self-isolating, please call us on: 01865 249811.

If you normally pay your rent or council tax using a PayPoint in a shop, or in the Post Office, there are other ways you can pay. Please call us on the above number and we will talk you through your options.

Communal areas (in housing for older people)

It may be necessary, for the safety of you and your neighbours, to close communal lounges or toilets in our sheltered housing for older people over the coming days and weeks.

If we do have to close a communal area, we will put up signs around the building to inform you and your neighbours.

In the meantime, please continue following the Government’s advice:

  • Wash your hands more often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean and disinfect communal surfaces after use
  • Avoid close contact with people who have coronavirus symptoms

We will continue to carry out regular cleaning and caretaking services, including water safety tests in housing blocks with shared water tanks.

Elderly and vulnerable people

Over the coming days we aim to contact our most elderly and vulnerable tenants to make sure they are okay, and to let them know about the services they can access for help and support.

If you are elderly or vulnerable and you need urgent non-medical support, or if you are worried about an elderly or vulnerable neighbour, please get in touch with us by calling: 01865 249811.

The Oxford Hub, a voluntary sector organisation, is coordinating volunteers across the city to help and support those who are elderly or vulnerable and are in self-isolation.

This help and support could include buying milk or food, taking the dog out, or putting out bins – simple, easy things to do that people who are self-isolating, or at high risk, are not able to do.

Volunteer with Oxford Hub.

If you get sick

The NHS has provided information about coronavirus, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you have symptoms, on its website: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

The main advice is to stay at home if you have either: 

  • A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • A new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have these symptoms.

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days you should visit the website: 111.nhs.uk/covid-19.

The NHS advice is that you only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Keeping up-to-date

Information and guidance about the coronavirus is changing every day.

We have set up a dedicated page on our website, which contains the latest information and guidance about the coronavirus for Oxford residents. Please visit: www.oxford.gov.uk/coronavirus.

If you do not have access to the internet, please listen to official Government advice and guidance via news programmes on the radio or TV.

Contact us

If you have any concerns or questions about your home or any of the above non-medical issues, please get in touch with us by calling: 01865 249811.

If at all possible, please avoid visiting our Customer Service Centre in St Aldate’s, Oxford.

The information contained in this letter is the current position. If the situation changes substantially, we will write to you again to let you know.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Clarke, Head of Housing Services