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Residents reminded vaccination is the best way to protect against the coronavirus, as case rates rise and restrictions set to ease

Published: Friday, 16th July 2021

Residents are being reminded that the best way to protect themselves and their loved ones from the coronavirus is to get vaccinated, as case rates continue to rise.

The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in Stoke-on-Trent is now 425.9 per 100,000 people, for the week 2 July – 8 July 2021. There continues to be a significant rise in cases, with an increase of 62.7 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 9.2 per cent. Cases are widespread across the city but the hotspot area is Moorcroft.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “The increase in cases is expected as we all travel about our daily lives, and is in keeping with increases across the country. The seven-day rate is almost 50 per cent higher than it was a week ago, and it looks like rising closer to 500 per 100,000 people in the next few days.

“We can all help to drive our rates down by continuing to follow the public health advice and to keep regularly testing ourselves. However, the best way of all that we can help to protect ourselves and others around us is to get vaccinated and encourage all our family, friends and colleagues to do the same if they are eligible.”

Earlier this week, the government confirmed that stage four of the roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions will go ahead from next Monday (19 July). It will mean that limits on social distancing and contacts will be removed, nightclubs and large music and sporting events can resume without limits on attendance, employers can start to plan a return to workplaces, limits on table service in pubs and restaurants will be lifted, rules on sending school ‘bubbles’ home after a positive case will cease at the end of the summer term, limits on life events such as weddings, funerals and baptisms will be removed, and it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering. From 16 August close contacts of people who have tested positive will no longer have to self-isolate if they have been fully vaccinated at least two weeks beforehand. A full list of the changes is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-summer-2021-roadmap.

However, caution is being urged when the restrictions are lifted, with a number of national public health guidelines being advised to limit the spread of the virus including:

  • Testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in schools and high-risk workplaces to help people manage their personal risk.
  • Isolating if you return a positive test result, or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Border quarantine: for all people arriving from ‘red list’ countries and for those people not fully vaccinated arriving from ‘amber list’ countries.
  • Cautious guidance for residents, businesses and the vulnerable while prevalence is high including: a gradual return to the work place over summer; recommendations to wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport; encouragement to take advantage of the outdoors as much as possible during the summer, or let fresh air in and circulate, if you are indoors; minimising the number of people you mix with; supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “It is evident from the rising case rates here and across the country that the infection is increasing rapidly. This reinforces the need for us all to continue to be cautious.

“The vaccine does not eliminate completely the chance of getting Covid-19 but it does offer a huge protective effect by reducing by at least eight-fold your chance of catching it, the severity of illness if you do get it, the chance of having to go into hospital if you do and ultimately the risk of dying. I have had both my jabs and urge you all to do the same.

“We need to keep in mind the public health advice and to keep getting tested for Covid-19 at least twice a week, and recording the results. The more tests we do, the more they will help to drive down our positivity rates and most importantly keep ourselves and others around us safe. You must also self-isolate if you receive a positive test result or are informed that you are a close contact of somebody who has tested positive.”

A walk-in Covid-19 vaccination clinic will again be held at Norfolk Street Surgery, Shelton Primary Care Centre, Norfolk St, ST1 4PB on Thursday 15th July between 3.30pm and 5pm. It follows on from successful walk-in sessions at the surgery over the past couple of weeks. The clinic will administer the Pfizer vaccine and will be available to anyone over the age of 18 who needs their first or second dose.

Meanwhile, council contact tracing and public protection teams are continuing to work with residents and businesses respectively, and support services including #StokeonTrentTogether and a 24-hour mental health helpline continue to operate.

Councillor Brown said: “The contact tracing team are supporting residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are working to trace their close contacts to support them to self-isolate. Last week was the team’s busiest one yet, with a maximum of 190 cases in a day. Our teams offer advice to residents and signpost them to other services and partners. Our public protection teams are strongly advising businesses to consider keeping the Covid-secure measures they have implementing so successfully during the restrictions, including staff using face coverings, making hand sanitisers available, keeping screens in place, so that staff and customers continue to be protected from spreading the virus.

“#StokeonTrentTogether has helped many vulnerable households during the pandemic and will continue to provide a network of help to people who are self-isolating, including access to priority delivery slots, prescriptions and emergency provisions.

“We established the 24-hour mental health helpline with Brighter Futures last November, and have received 36,565 calls since then, including 808 calls from people who said they were feeling suicidal. Over the past few months the helpline has supported people feeling isolated, people who are anxious about the restrictions being lifted, and given help to people who have been affected by losing their jobs and relationship breakdowns.

“With the remaining coronavirus restrictions set to be lifted on Monday, 19 July, we know that many people will feel anxious and overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel like this and it’s important that we look after our mental health and wellbeing, so please do seek support if you need it.”

For information on more support services across Stoke-on-Trent, please visit http://www.stoke.gov.uk/supportservices.

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For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.

www.stoke.gov.uk/news

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