Stoke-on-Trent City Council has applied to the Secretary of State for Health for the city to be placed into the ‘high level’ banding of COVID-19 restrictions.
In addition to Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Slough will move into Tier 2 restrictions and discussions are underway on Warrington being placed into Tier 3.
The Tier 2 changes come into effect from 12:01am on Saturday – meaning people will not be able to meet other households socially indoors.
The city has continued to see a sharp increase in Coronavirus cases over the last five days, which the city’s Director of Adult Social Care and Health, Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones has advised will continue to accelerate unless urgent action is taken and a move to ‘High’ from the current ‘Medium’ level is made sooner rather than later.
Stoke-on-Trent has seen rates of Coronavirus case continue to rise exponentially in recent days. The number of new cases rose to 210.2 per 100,000 population between 13 and 19 October, a further increase of 24.5 from the previous day’s figures.
Analysis of cases across the city shows spread across the north, central, south east and south west of the city, with more cases in the south west than elsewhere although the distribution is fairly even, with transmission mainly household-to-household.
Hospital admissions continue to rise with deaths now being reported as well. Without action now, the council expects to see substantial increases in the pressure on the Royal Stoke hospital which will impact still further on residents suffering from other serious conditions.
Under ‘High level’ restrictions, people must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place. They must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
Should ‘High level’ restrictions fail to reduce the number of cases, areas will be placed into ‘Very High’, the highest level of restrictions.
Cllr Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been working extensively with local MPs and has led the bid to the Secretary of State. She said:
“By acting now, we can hope to stem this increase, limiting the time that we are in these enhanced restrictions and – above all – avoiding further escalation into ‘Very High’.
“Taking this approach now will limit the damage to our local economy of a potential future move to the ‘very high’ category. Swift decisive early action to quickly reduce the spread of Coronavirus will reduce pressure on the NHS, prevent more unnecessary deaths, and the huge economic harm of the full lockdown we are seeing elsewhere. I’m not willing to put the lives of Stoke-on-Trent residents at risk by dithering for a week when we can act now to save lives and minimise economic damage.
“Following ongoing discussions with Public Health colleagues and using the extensive data at our fingertips, we have taken the decision to apply to the Government to move into the high level. I would like to thank our communities for everything they have done to try to contain the virus – we have done well to come this far without intervention. We hope that by acting decisively now, we will avoid further intervention later.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones said: “The pandemic has not gone away. It is very easily transmitted and put simply, it kills people and leave others struggling to recover months later. We know people may be tired of hearing the messages over and over but they are more important than ever now. Keep washing your hands, wear a face covering, limit your social contact and self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms.”
“Our data suggests that too many people with symptoms are not staying at home when they should be; this could have a deadly impact on older and more vulnerable loved ones, so please keep them safe by following the guidelines. Limiting our contact with our family and friends is hard, but it is important because the more contact we have, the more likely the virus will spread.”
“If you are contacted by test and trace, please self-isolate as directed and if you have symptoms, book a test as soon as you can.”
Further updates on the hospitality and business support for those areas in tier 2 are expected to be announced from the Government later.
Read the government guidance to find out what restrictions are in place in areas where the local COVID alert level is high.