Cases falling but hard work still lies ahead
Written by Jane Lythgoe on 30 November 2020
Keep up the hard work is the rallying cry for residents and businesses as Staffordshire’s infection rates fall and the end of national ‘lockdown’ restrictions looms.
Latest coronavirus figures show case rates have fallen in all areas across the county and now stands at around 230 cases per 100,000 population per week. The seven-day rate for Staffordshire is closing the gap but does remain above the England and West Midlands averages.
This positive news comes as the month-long restrictions that came into force England wide on 5 November will be replaced on Wednesday.
Despite this Staffordshire will go into the very highest alert of Tier 3 which comes with a loosening of some restrictions. Many businesses in the Very High tier will have to remain closed.
Infection rates is one of the criteria the Government used to decide which tier an area falls into. The other key criteria are case numbers across all age groups, cases in those aged over 60, the percentage of those tested who have the virus, and current and projected pressures on the NHS locally.
County council health chiefs are keen to ensure that this downward trend in case rates continues and calls for people not to let their foot of the pedal. Everybody should continue to be vigilant and follow the basics needed to control the virus as we return to a tiered system.
Dr Johnny McMahon, Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said:
“The fall in our infection rates is positive news, we need to keep this up and follow the Very High alert rules when they come into force on Wednesday.
“It is important we build on this recent momentum and put Staffordshire in a great position to get out of Tier 3.
“Tiering will be reviewed nationally by the Government on 16 December and if all the criteria are in a better position, then we could be in Tier 2 before Christmas.
“This gives us something very tangible to work towards but will require a focussed effort from us all as we enter the build-up to the festive period.”
Under Tier 3 restrictions it is illegal for people to socialise with other households indoors or in a private garden, unless they are part of a support bubble.
Hospitality will remain closed apart from takeaway sales. Non-essential shops, gyms and personal care businesses like hairdressers will be allowed to re-open.
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.