RESIDENTS and businesses across Staffordshire are warned they have four weeks to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases – as a second national lockdown comes into force today (Nov 5)
The county has continued to see cases soar in recent weeks towards the levels in the North West of England and almost double the national rate in some areas. This is creating increasing pressures on the NHS.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “If the number of cases in the county remains high then the government is likely to continue to impose restrictions in Staffordshire that will go beyond four weeks. This will affect the lives and livelihoods of more families and put businesses and jobs at risk.
“We need people to do everything they can to reduce the spread of the virus. It is going to be a difficult time, and we all need to pull together and show that Staffordshire can, and will, turn this situation around.”
The seven-day rate for Staffordshire is now above both the national and West Midlands rate at 344.7 per 100,000 population, with some areas of the county seeing a rate of more than 400 cases per 100,000 population.
On October 31, Staffordshire was placed in Covid High Alert, but within hours, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown for the whole country.
Although schools will remain open, the government is telling people to stay home and only travel for essential purposes such as work, food shopping, exercise, education and medical appointments. All shops deemed non-essential by the government, as well as leisure and entertainment facilities are closed.
It is now illegal for people to socialise with other households indoors or in a private garden, unless they are part of a support bubble. They will only be allowed to meet with one person from another household outdoors, in a park for example. Full details of the guidance can be found here.
Dr Richard Harling, the county’s Director of Health and Care, said: “Despite everyone’s best efforts, the numbers are continuing to rise at an alarming rate.
“While nobody wants to see much wider restrictions imposed once again, following the new rules is our best chance to bring the number of cases down, help the NHS and get these restrictions lifted as soon as possible.”
The new guidance which comes into force today is on top of the existing advice to: Wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering on public transport and in shops and keep your distance of 2m if you must go out.
Anyone with symptoms should book a test immediately at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive. Anybody who has been in close contact with them must self-isolate for 14 days, even if they feel well or test negative for the virus.