As we approach 19th July and Step 4 of the national COVID road map out of lockdown, many of the existing control measures will no longer be a legal requirement for us to follow.
Our infection rates are still very high in the area and continuing to increase. Currently, Cheshire West and Chester has an infection rate of 357 per 100,000 up to 11th July, a 20% increase from the previous week, and we expect the rates to continue to rise well above 400 per 100,000 during the next few days. The rates are highest in the 20-29 age range and we are now seeing more people requiring treatment for COVID in our local hospitals.
In the light of rising COVID-19 infections locally and changes to the national COVID-19 restrictions, we are asking those living, working and visiting Cheshire West and Chester, to go above and beyond the minimum guidance required.
Our advice will also support the recovery of our local businesses and the wider economy, as increased transmission of the virus will result in major disruptions if staff are unable to work due to being unwell with COVID-19 and legally required to self-isolate.
We are asking everyone not to see the 19th July as a reason to stop all the good practices that have helped to reduce the spread of the virus and which have protected our communities and loved ones over the past 16 months, especially when in close contact with others.
The hugely successful mass vaccination programme has weakened the link between infection, the risk of hospitalisation and loss of life.
This is incredibly encouraging, but unfortunately it is not the end of the story.
It is clear that a massive rise in infections will impact on our unvaccinated children and teenagers and those who have not been vaccinated, either due to personal choice or another medical reason.
We have seen a tremendous uptake of our local vaccine programme so far, with 84% of eligible adults now having their first dose, and 66% having their second dose.
We will continue to make getting your vaccine as easy as possible, taking it to areas of the lowest uptake and encouraging people to have their vital second dose.
For event organisers: It is important to communicate key messages to your customers be it through promotional information or as part of ticket information and reflect these in your risk assessments.
-All people attending as staff, volunteers, participants or spectators are advised to carry out a Lateral Flow Test within 24 hours prior to attending.
-Communicate that people carry out a self-health check prior to leaving home to be confident they have no symptoms.
-To encourage people to down load and log their covid status on the NHS app.
While the NHS app at this time is recommended, the government have stated this could be mandatory at a later date, as a condition of entry to some events.
Organisers need to consider how they could build in these checks at their entry point if this is required following an increased risk to public health as this could be a requirement to be documented within event plans submitted to the Safety Advisory Group and Public Health.
If events can remain vigilant to the highest standards to reduce the risks from covid, we will be better placed to support a return to normal activity.
Chair, Cheshire West Safety Advisory Group
Events Development and Commissioning Officer
Cheshire West and Chester Council