Stockport’s Director of Public Health has called for residents to continue to be cautious as lockdown restrictions begin to be eased from 8th March.
While welcoming the indications that we can begin interacting once more with friends and family, Jennifer Connolly urged residents to mindful that Covid-19 continues to circulate in the borough, and not to view the easing of some restrictions as a ‘free for all.’ The fall in coronavirus infection rates across Northern England has slow in recent weeks, reinforcing the need for continued social distancing and the use of masks and good ventilation indoors to continue to keep the virus at bay as the vaccine rollout progresses.
In her weekly statement on the coronavirus in the borough, she commented:
I’m sure that by now many of you will have seen the headlines about the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. It is great to hear some indication of when restrictions will be eased and when our family, leisure and work life may start to open up again. Further information on the roadmap can be found here. Please do remember though that these are the earliest possible dates that things may take place and are dependent on the data rather than being set in stone.
Coronavirus is still very much circulating in Stockport and while rates are falling gradually, the decline is starting to plateau. Rates are now at *181.3 per 100,000 and we are also seeing around *76 new cases each day. The latest published data can be found on the GOV website.
The UK strain is 50-70% more infectious than previously and is now estimated to account for around 98% of cases in Stockport. As this variant is more readily spread, we must be even more strict about the actions we know work to stop the spread.
Across much of the north, rates are declining at a slower pace than other parts of the country and so we need to be extremely vigilant about the measures that remain and will remain in place for a fair while yet. We are still under lockdown restrictions so you must stay at home apart from for essential shopping and exercise. We must also continue to work from home if able.
Every time the virus has an opportunity to mutate it will do, so there is still the chance of more variants emerging. The best way to limit the development and spread of new variants is to reduce the number of new infections. We must still take actions that stop the virus transmitting in order to protect ourselves and each other.
So even once restrictions are eased and we can meet another person socially or for exercise outdoors from 8 March and six people or two households can meet outdoors from 29 March, we must not see it as a free for all. We must still be mindful about keeping up measures for helping to stem the spread of Coronavirus– the importance of keeping socially distanced (two metres), hand washing and wearing face coverings. Do not enter enclosed spaces without a mask (unless exempt). Stay in well ventilated places – if you’re inside this means having the windows open for at least 15/20 minute every hour. This will all help to keep you and others safe. Further information on reducing the risk of transmission can be found here.
We really want to see rates get to as low a level as possible, and we need to keep up these measures, whilst the vaccine rollout continues.
Our vaccination rollout continues to progress really well and we’ve vaccinated more than 90,000 people in Stockport. Having met the government target for offering all over 70s their first dose of vaccine by 15 February, we are now calling Cohorts 5-6 – all those 65 years of age and over and all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. If you fall within one of the existing priority groups, you will receive an invite from the NHS for your vaccination; there is no need to ring your doctor as you will be contacted. We know that people will have questions about the vaccines that are currently available and this FAQ has been prepared to help to answer these queries here.
We know this can all be tough on your mental health and wellbeing and it’s understandable that we feel anxious, stressed, or lonely sometimes during these unsettling, unprecedented times. So please remember that if you’re finding things difficult right now, we have lots of offers of help and support, so please do reach out. We’ve listed them all here. For further information on how you might look after yourself, please visit our Health and Wellbeing pages or Healthy Stockport.
A key step to breaking the chains of transmission is self-isolating. If you have a new continuous cough, high temperature, or a change or loss of smell/taste – however mild, stay at home and book a test via GOV.UK or by phoning 119. You and your household members must self-isolate while you await your results. If found positive, stay home for 10 days. Household members must stay at home for 10 days. Minimise transmission within your home by staggering use of the bathroom, giving each person their own towel, and keeping kitchens and bathrooms clean.
If told to self-isolate through the NHS Covid 19 app you must follow the instruction.
The council’s Coronavirus helpline and website can be accessed on 0161 217 6046 from Monday – Thursday from 9.00am – 5pm and Friday from 9.00am – 4:30pm. If you’re deaf or have difficulty hearing, you can use our textphone on 07860 022 876. Find out more by visiting our helpline page.
*This is the latest figure for Stockport validated on 26.2.21.