Residents are being urged to go ‘above and beyond’ in following coronavirus restrictions, as the number of cases of the virus in the city has reached its highest level since the start of the pandemic.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is asking residents to protect themselves and their loved ones, and to get tested ‘as a civic duty’ even if you have mild symptoms, as:
- The number of new coronavirus cases notified to the council on 25 October was 127, putting the number of new cases in the last seven days at 310.5 per 100,000 – the highest recorded rate in the city.
- The percentage of people who have been tested and tested positive is now 18 per cent. Last week it was 13 per cent. This shows that not enough people are being tested as it should be less than five per cent.
Deputy council leader Daniel Jellyman said: “We are at the most critical hour in our city’s fight against this killer disease. The threat of the coronavirus is very real. It’s vital that we all play our part to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
“We’re urging people to go above and beyond to help to stop the spread of the disease. Please stick to your household support bubbles – do not mix households.
“Please don’t car share. If you car share regularly and the person you share with tests positive, you will have to isolate for 14 days. This is because you will be classed as a close contact. We have a real concern that transmission is taking place through people sharing lifts to work.
“Follow the hands, face, space national public health guidance. If rates continue to rise like they are doing now, then we are heading for tier three, the very high alert level. Nobody wants this. We must all take action now to slow the spread.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing said “If you have symptoms, no matter how mild, get a test. We have worked hard to increase testing capacity across the city. We have put 800 more tests on at venues across schools in Shelton, Werrington, Trentham and Smallthorne this week to support people in their communities and will continue to do so at venues around the city for as long as we can. You can book these tests through www.stoke.gov.uk and we have made this process as straightforward as possible.
“There is capacity to be tested at these venues and at the regional testing centre at Stoke City FC South Car Park and the local testing sites at Fenton Manor Car Park and Ryecroft in Newcastle, without the ridiculous situation some months back where the national system was taking you right across the country. Tests at these sites should be booked by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. It is your civic duty to be tested to protect yourself and others and to keep the NHS safe for everyone. Make sure you know if you have the virus or not.”
A city-wide public information campaign is underway to make residents and businesses aware of the support that is available to them, and to remind people of the coronavirus restrictions.
During the next few days, all households will receive a letter from the council explaining the coronavirus restrictions, and what must be done to follow them. It also details the support that vulnerable households can access through #StokeonTrentTogether, support available to help people’s mental health and wellbeing, a reminder of the symptoms of coronavirus and how people can book a test.
Text messages will also be sent to around 8,500 people who have vulnerabilities – as was done at the start of the pandemic – to see if they need any support and to remind them of the #StokeonTrentTogether support number – 01782 234234.
Public information posters will also appear on billboards throughout the city and in places such as outside school gates, as a reminder of public health messages and social distancing.
The #StokeonTrentTogether initiative is a campaign by the council in partnership with voluntary sector partner VAST. It launched in March and has already seen more than 100,000 welfare calls made to residents and a range of support provided.
Councillor Jellyman said: “We know that the restrictions we’re all living under are difficult for all of us. It is a tremendous credit to everyone for following the guidelines and doing their bit to protect themselves and each other.
“There is support available if people need it, and we want to ensure all residents are clear on how they can access it. We have a wide-ranging and well-established network of support through the #StokeonTrentTogether campaign. If people are struggling, be it families in need of meals for their children through half-term, people who are isolating and in need of support in collecting prescriptions, help to improve mental health, or a range of other support, there is help available. Please don’t suffer in isolation.”
Meanwhile the council has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and some common mistakes that people may make in response to the coronavirus.
Common mistakes include:
- Not self-isolating and still visiting loved ones while waiting for test results.
It is vitally important if you are waiting for test results that you self-isolate. There have been examples where people, while waiting for results, have carried on their daily routines and consequently infected family, friends and work colleagues. If you receive a positive test result anybody you have been in close contact with – whether you have infected them or not – will have to self-isolate.
- Allowing your children to have sleepovers
While children at school are in bubbles to limit the number of close contacts each child has, it does not mean outside the school environment children should further increase their risk of being infected. The high alert restrictions mean that children must only socialise indoors with their household or support bubble outside of attending school. This means not having sleepovers.
A full list of frequently asked questions and answers can be found on the council’s website: www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus.
For more information and advice on the coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.