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Cheshire leaders unite in expressing concern and caution about COVID

LEP 22/07/2021

Expressed concern about the spread of COVID-19 in the area

Political and business leaders across Cheshire are urging caution following the lifting of COVID restrictions by the Government this week.
Local leaders met together on Monday [19 July 2021] to review the situation across Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington and Halton.  They expressed serious concern about the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the area, with cases now doubling every 14 days, even before the removal of regulations by the government.  

Case rates in each of the Cheshire council areas are now over 400/500 per 100,000, and likely to continue to rise over the weeks ahead, with Warrington approaching rates of up to 700 per 100,000.  Hospital admissions are also rising steadily, with 246 people now in hospital across Cheshire and Merseyside, and 49 in intensive care beds.  

Commenting on the latest position, Councillor Louise Gittins, chair of the Covid Response Coordination Group, said: “Across Cheshire, Warrington and Halton, COVID-19 continues to rise alarmingly, and will soon exceed the levels of infection we experienced last January.  The leaders of each of the council areas are united in our message to the public to take a cautious approach, continue to abide by public health advice, and help keep yourselves, your friends and relatives, and communities safe." 

The number of people required to self-isolate following a positive test, or close contact with someone testing positive, is also rising exponentially.  Commenting on the challenge this creates to the continued delivery of public services and for local businesses, Clare Hayward, Chair of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Businesses and public service employers across our area are dealing with the challenge of increasing virus and self-isolation rates on their staff.  Our message to business is to maintain the measures you’ve taken against COVID as far as possible, keep a cautious approach, and support your staff and customers to stay safe.  Together we will get through this.” 

Cheshire Leaders also welcomed the progress being made through the vaccination programme, but urged every adult to now come forward for their first and second jab.  Nearly 760,000 people across the four Cheshire council areas have received their first jab (84 per cent of adults), and just over 618,000 (68 per cent) their second jab. This is a great achievement, but it still leaves over 147,000 adults and children without the protection that two vaccinations provide. This means that vaccination alone cannot stem the further spread of infection, and we’ll all need to continue to play our part through personal responsibility and consideration of others. 

Cheshire Leaders also supported the joint statement issued by Directors of Public Health from across Cheshire and Merseyside, which set out clear advice to help protect the region against accelerating rates.  

  • Get fully vaccinated – it’s shown to be safe and effective against the virus, including new variants and is the best way to keep yourself from getting seriously ill. It also reduces the risk of passing the virus on to someone else; 
  • Be kind and considerate of others who may be feeling extremely nervous about the further lifting of restrictions;
  • Continue wearing face coverings in crowded indoor areas where social distancing cannot be followed, such as supermarkets and on public transport, in health and social care settings, such as hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries, and where it would make others feel more comfortable;
  • Continue social distancing by not unnecessarily being in crowded areas and continuing to work from home if possible;
  • Continue to practice good hand hygiene, in particular hand washing;
  • Keep getting tested – everyone should undertake twice weekly rapid symptom free testing using Lateral Flow Tests (LFT). If people experience generally associated symptoms such as a headache, a stuffed or runny nose, tiredness or weakness, aches and pains, sore throat or diarrhoea, they should take an LFT and follow up with a PCR test if the LFT test is positive. If people have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste they must stay at home and book a PCR test. Around one in three people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms, but can still infect others - so getting tested regularly will help slow the spread;
  • Self-isolate if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, especially if you work in a high-risk setting 

 And for businesses and workplaces in Cheshire to:

  • Continue to adhere to COVID-19 working safely guidance, including provision of washing facilities and proper ventilation with external fresh air; 
  • Continue to engage with the Test, Trace and Isolate process, and increase testing if your workplace has had an outbreak;
  • Encourage your employees to get tested if they suspect they have COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate if positive;
  • Encourage your employees to have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered