PEOPLE living and working in the Staffordshire Moorlands are being urged to protect themselves and their friends and families from Covid-19 and do their bit to help keep the district in the 'medium' alert category.
Confirmed cases in the district have risen by almost 400 since September 1 and the seven-day rate currently stands at 165 per 100,000 people - the third highest in Staffordshire and above the national average.
As the infections rate continues to rise across the UK, many areas are now already in the 'high' or 'very high' categories and facing greater restrictions on their lives - and the Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has issued a rallying call to residents and businesses to take action now to stop that happening in the across the district.
Cou Sybil Ralphs, pictured, has urged people to stick to the rules by washing or sanitising your hands frequently, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, staying at least two-metres away from others and observing the 'rule of six' including children.
And, in an additional measure, people in Staffordshire Moorlands are being advised to avoid mixing indoors with other households for social purposes if possible.
Coun Ralphs said: "We've all worked so hard to protect our loved ones and to support our local businesses as they have re-opened but the number of cases is rising so we need to strengthen our resolve and all play our part in bringing the number down.
"If we don't, we're at real risk of moving into the 'high' alert tier which would harm businesses and mean people facing uncertainty and further disruption to their lives.
"But if we act now we can prevent that - so it's now more important than ever that we stick to the basics of hands, face, space and the 'rule of six'. We're also asking Moorlands residents, along with people across the county, to take the additional measure of not mixing indoors with other households.
"We don't do this lightly but we firmly believe it will make a real difference in bringing the infection rate down and helping us stay out of the higher alert category so I urge you to do it for yourself, your friends and family and to do it to help protect all the residents and businesses in the Moorlands."
Johnny McMahon, cabinet member for Health, Care and Wellbeing on Staffordshire County Council, said: "We are doing everything we can to tackle the rising numbers.
"Nobody wants to see further restrictions on families and friends getting together or potentially businesses closing if the situation continues to escalate.
"We must act now and that means following the rules like never before."
For more information on the help and support available visit www.staffmoorlands.gov.uk/coronavirus