MORE than one in 20 people across the borough are on the “extremely vulnerable” shielding list for covid-19.

Figures published by NHS Digital show that 15,800 people in Bolton are registered on the list, 5.5 per cent of the town’s population.

Bolton is 13th on the list of local authorities with the highest portion of vulnerable residents, behind cities like Leeds and Liverpool, and the London boroughs of Hounslow, and Ealing.

Neighbouring Bury fares slightly better, coming in at 21st with 9,830, or 5.2 per cent of residents, on the shielding list.

Doctors have said these most vulnerable people are at greatest risk of severe illness and death from covid-19, and should have been sent a letter or received a call from their GP about their risk.

Former NHS worker Rosie Adamson-Clark, 64, previously told The Bolton News of her struggles shielding with her wife.

To protect herself from the deadly virus, Mrs Adamson-Clark can't go to the supermarket for food, or head to the pharmacy to refill her prescription.

Fortunately, she was able to reach out to a good friend to get medication, access a delivery system for food, and find a way to keep her spirits up.

She said: “It’s about finding a strategy to stay hopeful. It might be speaking to somebody or dancing about in the kitchen.

“I will get through it because my personality is quite sunny and optimistic but I know I will have dips because that’s being a normal human being.

“It’s dreadfully difficult, especially for those on their own. But know that this will end and it will not go on forever. Keep reaching out to people and listen to your favourite music.

“Although you feel alone, and physically you might be on your own, there's a world going on out there, so you aren’t on your own. We’re all connected, the end of isolation will come.”

Unfortunately, not everyone has been able to cope with shielding on their own.

On Wednesday, March 25, Bolton Council set up an emergency contact number for anyone shielding who couldn't reach out to family, friends, or neighbours for support.

In the first two weeks, over 450 parcels of food, medicine, or treats were delivered to the most vulnerable in the borough.

In April alone, the council received over 9,000 calls to the community hub helpline, with 200 people heading out to help at the food bank hub at the former Staples in Trinity Retail Park.

To access support with food, medicine, or other issues during the coronavirus crisis, call the hub helpline at 01204 337221.

Lines are operated from 8.30-5.30pm Monday to Friday, and 9-1.30pm on Saturdays.