Residents are being urged to continue to follow national health advice in response to the coronavirus, after an outbreak in neighbouring Stone and ahead of the Eid al-Adha festival.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is calling on residents to continue to be vigilant against the risk of spreading the virus. It follows a number of confirmed positive cases of coronavirus among visitors to the Crown and Anchor Pub in Stone on 16, 17 and 18 July.
A mobile testing unit has been set up in the Crown Street car park in the Staffordshire town today (Wednesday) and will remain in place from 11am to 3pm on Thursday and Friday, and 10.30am to 3.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Testing will be by appointment only, and anyone who has not been tested today can book online for their local testing centre. This could be the new mobile unit at Stone or at one of the existing sites such as at the bet365 Stadium. To book an appointment, please visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, choosing the ‘I am in a ‘lockdown’ area’ option, although to be clear, there is no lockdown in Stone. Once residents enter their post code it will provide the options of testing locations close to them.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “The outbreak in Stone is a very stark reality check: this virus has not gone away, it spreads quickly, and we all must continue to do all we can to reduce the risk of infection. This means pubs, restaurants and venues being vigilant in ensuring their social distancing measures are followed and that they take contact information for visitors to assist with tracing, should it be needed. It means that taxis should also continue to ensure they are following guidance, especially when picking up customers from pubs. And equally importantly, it means that we all should continue to adhere to health guidance – this means registering your information with a venue when you are asked to, ensuring you are wearing your face covering when it is needed, and using public transport and taxis appropriately.”
Guidance for taxis includes keeping two metres apart from the driver, so that passengers sit on the back seat and on the passenger side, where possible, and that drivers should keep a record of the journey in case it is required for NHS test and trace purposes to assist with contact tracing.
The warning to be vigilant against the coronavirus also comes as one of the biggest festivals in the Muslim calendar is about to start. The Eid al-Adha festival commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s loyalty and obedience to God’s commands. Residents are urged to continue to stay safe and protect friends and family during the festival which starts tomorrow (Thursday) and continues until Monday (3 August).
Councillor Brown said: “Communities across the city adapted their religious practices during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, and in doing so helped to control the virus while still celebrating safely. Mosques have adapted, with fewer people than normal able to attend and social distancing measures being followed.
“Residents have also not visited families and friends’ homes, and have instead been using video calls and other digital technology to celebrate.
“Maintaining social distancing is vital for multi-generational households, with elderly parents and grandparents who may also have underlying health issues. We know the huge sacrifices communities have made in the past few months, and understand how hard it has been for families. We know that families would normally be celebrating this special time in different ways, and we hope they can do so again soon. In the meantime, please continue to follow the national health guidance, stay safe and Eid Mubarak.”
Meanwhile, the council is working with care home providers to advise them on the measures they will need to take to open safely, following the latest guidance from government. All care homes will need to have their own risk assessments and visitor policies in place and ensure all checks are completed in line with the national guidance.
Director of public health Jacquie Ashdown said: "We know families have been waiting patiently and they will be keen to visit loved ones as soon as it is safe to do so. We have reviewed the latest government advice to assess the appropriateness of visiting, based on local data and public health intelligence.
"We are working closely with care providers as they prepare clear, robust plans for their own care home, as the most important consideration is to keep residents safe."
Each care provider will have their own policy on visiting, but it is recommended that people should only go in person when it is absolutely essential and visits should be limited to a maximum of two people from the same household. Care home residents are asked to continue to keep in contact with friends and loved ones using digital technology such as video calling, social media or by phone rather than visiting in person. In homes where there are suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19, no visiting will be allowed, apart from in exceptional circumstances when residents are at the end of their lives.
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 significance 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.
For all media enquiries only please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.
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