Coronavirus cases in the city have more than doubled in the latest seven-day figures on infection rates, with a ‘seriously concerning’ rise in hospital admissions, civic leaders have warned.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has revealed that the number of new cases of the virus rose to 185.7 between 12-18 October, an increase of 57.1 per cent on the previous seven days. Latest figures show that there are 90 people with coronavirus at Royal Stoke University Hospital and four at County Hospital in Stafford, with as many as nine people who are seriously ill and in need of ventilation. Two weeks ago, the number of coronavirus patients across both sites totalled seven.
Council leader Abi Brown warned: “We know that over the past two weeks – 5-18 October – 13 out of every 100 people who have had a coronavirus test have had a positive result. Just a few weeks ago it was two out of every 100 people.
“We’re seeing a rapid rise in cases and the number of coronavirus hospital admissions is becoming seriously concerning. We’re seeing a very similar pattern to what was experienced during the first phase of the pandemic, when cases in Stoke-on-Trent increased 3-4 weeks after the Black Country and the north west.
“The increase is stark, and we should all take it extremely seriously. Although our city is currently classed as a tier one ‘medium risk’, the lowest of the three tiers, we need to be realistic that we will rise to a tier two, high risk area very soon.
“It’s vitally important that we all act to do all we can to combat the spread of the disease. It’s a rallying call for everyone in the city that this disease is extremely real and we all cannot let our guards slip in following the public health guidance.
“Our teams continue to analyse the data on cases. We know that cases are spread across the north, central, south east and south west of the city, with more cases in the south west than elsewhere although the spread is pretty even. We are looking at any trends in cases, but what we have found to date is that transmission is mainly household-to-household.
“We need people to follow the advice, which is to limit household mixing indoors. Our other main concern is around car sharing: if you can make alternative travel plans and not car share, please do so wherever possible. If you can’t, then please follow the public health guidance.
“I’m calling on each and every resident in the city to play their part and do what is being asked of you.”
With the rise in cases, families are being advised that the health guidance must continue to be followed during half-term in the city next week.
The public health advice remains to:
- Wear a face covering in shops and on public transport
- Stay two metres apart
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds
- Stick to the rule of six
- Limit the number of households that you’re mixing with especially indoors
- Don’t car share with somebody outside your household or support bubble.
Councillor Brown said: “Many families will be on holiday or enjoying time together but we all have to stick to the rules. We all have a role to play in the fight to stop the spread of the virus; one week of fun is not worth the implications it will have not only for yourself, but your family and friends also.”
Residents are advised that new measures like advanced bookings are now in place at many attractions across the city, to aid with social distancing, and visitors may be asked to wear a face covering, in line with public health guidelines. Residents are urged to download the NHS Covid-19 smartphone App and scan the QR code displayed at venue entrances to quickly and easily check-in during visits.
Meanwhile public safety advice has been issued to help families enjoy Halloween safely this year. Instead of going trick or treating, families are encouraged to:
- Dress up in the comfort of your own home
- Read a scary story
- Watch a scary film
- Carve a pumpkin
Councillor Brown said: “We know that families and residents across the city enjoy the festivities at this time of year, but this time there are scarier things out there than Halloween. We want people to stay safe and stay home. Unfortunately trick or treating risks your exposure further to the virus, as does any household mixing indoors. Activities such as your child putting their hand in a bowl of sweets that other children have put their hands in, or even thinking you will just take part in meeting with other families that live close by could all risk exposure to the infection. Please don’t put you, your children or other families at risk.”
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.