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Small fall in coronavirus cases, as residents praised for increased testing and communities urged to follow guidance

Published: Monday, 24th August 2020

New coronavirus cases in the city have fallen slightly after an increase in testing last week saw hundreds more people swabbed for the virus.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has confirmed that the updated seven-day total for positive coronavirus cases in the city now stands at 74 (as at Friday 21 August) having peaked at 82 on Thursday 20 August. In Normacot, where targeted testing and work with the community has taken place after an increase in cases in a concentrated number of streets, the seven-day total for positive cases is now 48 (as at Friday 21 August) having peaked at 55 on Thursday 20 August.*

Latest figures show that four new cases have been notified today (Monday) of which just one is in Normacot. This takes the cumulative total for the city to 1,655 cases and the total number of people to have tested positive for the coronavirus in Normacot since 5 August is now 79.

Latest figures also reveal that 5,840 people were tested at the regional testing centre at the bet365 Stadium between 5-18 August, since the rise in cases in Normacot began. The figures exclude 10 and 11 August where the daily data is still awaited. Following local testing in Normacot on 14 and 15 August, visits to the bet365 Stadium facilities peaked at their highest levels – 532 tests on 16 August, 930 on 17 August and 588 on 18 August. The average daily number of tests on the other dates was 473. The bet365 Stadium has a capacity of 1,000 tests a day.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “The latest data shows a small but clear downward trend in coronavirus cases. At the moment the decrease is too small to draw significant conclusions, and clearly there is still a long way to go. The recent increase in figures has meant that Stoke-on-Trent is in the top 20 cities in the country for new cases, and we know that our overall rate of infection is amongst the highest in the West Midlands. But we are doing everything we can to halt the spread of the virus, and the response from residents in Normacot and across the city continues to be exemplary.

“The spike in cases is in keeping with expected levels at a time when more and more people are being tested for the virus. In Normacot alone, 593 people were tested last week over three days at a mobile testing centre that we put right in the heart of the community to support local people.

“We wrote to 1,000 people in the Normacot area last week to advise them on steps to take to help to stop the spread of the infection. We advised people that they can get tested at the bet365 Stadium, and the large spike in tests there clearly shows how residents have followed that message and have acted sensibly, seriously and swiftly. Our teams visited more than 30 businesses in the community, giving advice on social distancing and other health measures. Shops are limiting the number of people in the premises at any one time, and two mosques in the community voluntarily closed for 14 days as a show of how seriously and responsibly local people are treating this issue.

 

“We know the increase in cases in Normacot has been concentrated in a small number of streets, and that transmission has been within households. We asked people to limit their household-to-household contact and to stay at home where possible. This message is being followed. It needs to continue to be if we are to beat this disease.”

Meanwhile residents are being reminded of the requirements on wearing face coverings. By law, face coverings which cover the nose and mouth must be worn when travelling on public transport in England. They must also be worn by law in some other public places such as supermarkets and shops, unless residents have a face covering exemption because of their age or health, or if they have a legitimate reason not to. Face coverings must be worn when shopping in outdoor markets across the city.

Residents are strongly encouraged to also wear a face covering in other enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, or where there are people they do not normally meet. For example, in taxis and private hire vehicles. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator may be entitled to refuse to accept fares if passengers do not wear a face covering.

If face coverings are not worn in these settings residents will be breaking the law and could be fined £100, or £50 if the fine is paid within 14 days.

These laws apply in England. If travelling from any other UK nation, residents will be required to wear a face covering when they enter England, regardless of the rules in the nation being transited from.

Residents are also being encouraged not to share a vehicle with someone outside their household or support bubble. However, if they need to car share, residents should:

  • Share the transport with the same people each time.
  • Keep to small groups of people at any one time.
  • Open windows for ventilation.
  • Travel side-by-side or behind other people rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow.
  • Face away from each other.
  • Consider seating arrangements to maximise the distance between people in the vehicle.
  • Clean the car between journeys using standard cleaning products, especially door handles and other areas people may touch.
  • Ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering.

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.

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

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For all media enquiries only contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.

www.stoke.gov.uk/news

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