Major incident declared in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

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The growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has prompted the county’s public and emergency services to declare a major incident for the second time.

Staffordshire Resilience Forum (SRF) is made up of multiple agencies who work together to plan and prepare for localised incidents and civil emergencies.

The recent surge in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions resulted in the Local Covid Alert Level in Stoke-on-Trent being raised to High Alert last week and it has been confirmed today that Staffordshire will also move to High Alert level from 00.01 on Saturday 31 October.

The members of the SRF have agreed to declare a major incident as the situation will require enhanced multi-agency activity and co-ordination, which is beyond the scope of current operations.

The objectives of the SRF are to protect life, especially vulnerable people; minimise the impact of the pandemic and control measures on wider society and the economy; maintain public trust and confidence; and support Business Continuity for all partners in particular for the NHS and social care.

Dr Richard Harling, the Director for Health and Care at Staffordshire County Council is chairing the Strategic Coordinating Group, which is overseeing the multi-agency response.

Richard said: “Everyone is now aware that we are seeing a second surge in coronavirus with infections and hospital admissions rising rapidly across the county. We are asking the public to continue to do everything they can to reduce the spread of infection and prevent more people getting sick and dying from this disease.

“Declaring a Major Incident for a second time is a clear recognition of the seriousness of the situation across the county. We know from the first wave, that tackling the spread of the virus and the related impacts is going to take time and persistence.

“All public sector agencies and our partners are already working together in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to anticipate and deal with challenges. Declaring a Major Incident will make sure that we are able to share resources, where necessary. This will be important as we expect that more staff may need to self-isolate in the coming weeks.

“Working together is something that we do all the time and the action we are now taking is simply aimed at making that process even more joined-up.

“It is important that people continue following the law and national guidance from the Government in line with the restrictions for High Alert level areas.”