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Residents urged to follow public health advice, as communities show their support for frontline services

Published: Thursday, 2nd April 2020

Residents are being warned to be vigilant in following public health instructions to stop the spread of coronavirus, as communities unite to show support to those delivering key frontline services

Residents are being warned that they must be vigilant in following public health instructions to stop the spread of coronavirus, as communities are uniting to show their support to those delivering key frontline services.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is urging people to follow the stark national guidance: ‘if you go out, you can spread the disease. People will die. Act like you’ve got it, anyone can spread it.’ The warning comes as it has been revealed that people who are remaining at home may not be washing their hands enough; and there are concerns that young males in particular are not following the guidance.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “The instruction couldn’t be more clear, or more stark. We all must remain vigilant at this time and stop the risk of spreading this terrible virus. We all must wash our hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds. Yesterday we saw a much higher number of deaths from coronavirus nationally, and we know that there is some way to go before the peak is reached.

“I’m so proud of the way that people in Stoke-on-Trent have responded in such a responsible manner; we must all continue to do all we can to stop the spread of coronavirus, protect our wonderful NHS and frontline workers, and save the lives of local people.”

The warning comes as communities across the city are showing solidarity and spreading hope at this time of emergency.

Councillor Brown said: “Our frontline staff are continuing to deliver key services to keep our city moving. And residents are showing their appreciation in unexpected and wonderful ways. I have been informed of binmen being clapped and cheered as they go down streets, and families writing notes and drawing pictures of support. We have redeployed staff from other services such as leisure centres that have closed during the pandemic in order to support bin crews and keep collections going. It gives you goosebumps to see the reaction from local people in giving their support. We all appreciate this so much, and if families wish to continue to leave messages of support, why not post your pictures on social media tagging in @sotcitycouncil and we will share your posts.”

Waste collection teams have confirmed that if families wish to do more drawings with their children in support of bin crews, they will look to give out Dennis Eagle packs with fun environmentally-themed activities for all the family to enjoy.

The authority yesterday (Wednesday) launched #StokeCares, a recruitment campaign to create temporary personal wellbeing assistants to deliver crucial home care to vulnerable people in need of support. In just 24 hours, five applications are already being quickly assessed, to go alongside 56 existing council employees who have come forward to be retrained from working in other services.

Meanwhile, the council has confirmed that it is taking steps to reduce the number of council meetings that take place in April, in light of national guidance in response to the coronavirus. A change in legislation now permits virtual meetings to take place however, this is subject to regulations that are yet to be issued by government. As such, the authority has confirmed that the cabinet meeting on 21 April will continue as planned in order to agree key policy decisions in the interests of the city, but other public meetings will not take place during April. This situation will be reviewed later in the month when it is hoped that new regulations will be in place to allow for virtual council meetings, as necessary, in May.

A summary of the Coronavirus Act 2020 which passed into law on 26 March is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-bill-what-it-will-do/what-the-coronavirus-bill-will-do.

Finally as part of work to support the vulnerable through the #StokeonTrentTogether initiative, from today, the council is writing to 13,000 over 70s across the city to promote the service and for them to know that there is help available should they need it. 

For more information and advice on 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 importance of this action cannot be underestimated.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.