Residents in Cheshire West and Chester urged to follow new Plan B measures to help slow the spread of Omicron
Residents are being urged to look after each other and follow new measures being introduced in England to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 variant Omicron.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is working on a five-point plan to play its part in the fight against the virus.
Measures announced by the government on Wednesday are part of Plan B of the national Winter Plan.
The measures include:
The Council's plan includes the following points:
1. Stepping up support to NHS partners in the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and booster programme and providing access to symptomatic and asymptomatic testing.
The Council works closely with NHS partners to improve access to vaccination clinics across the borough, including roving pop-up clinics with no appointment necessary.
The Council also runs an asymptomatic testing service which offers testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19, as well as working with the government's symptomatic testing service to ensure access to tests across the borough.
2. Reinforcing the working from home advice with Council staff.
Office staff have worked from home since the start of the pandemic and this will continue. Frontline services, like waste collection, libraries and maintaining the quality of roads and public spaces, will remain open, with all the necessary precautions in place to ensure staff and members of the public are COVID-safe.
3. Supporting businesses with the introduction of the COVID pass and wider roll-out of face coverings in public indoor spaces.
Business Support officers will provide advice and support to businesses to enable them to comply with the new NHS Covid Pass regulations, as well as the wider roll-out of face covering rules.
4. Maintaining regular Outbreak Board meetings to continue open and transparent dialogue with residents.
The cross-party and multi-sector Outbreak Board provides political oversight of local delivery of the NHS Test, Trace, Contain and Enable service, leads engagement with communities and is the public face of the local response in the event of an outbreak. The Board meets publicly via an open access webcast. The Council is committed to being open and transparent and questions from the public are always welcomed and answered during the meeting.
5. Empowering the community to play its part.
Communicating with residents to ensure they are informed about the local picture, know what the Council is doing and where to find advice and support. Sharing key information with our network of Community Champions to enable them to share advice with their networks.
The latest seven-day COVID-19 infection rate in the borough is 554 per 100,000 up to 3 December, which is a 9% increase on the previous week, and early indications are that this rate will continue to rise in the coming days.
Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "Now, more than ever, it is again important for everyone to look after each other and keep taking sensible precautions – get your vaccine or booster as soon as you are eligible, wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, and keep rooms well ventilated by opening doors and windows for a few minutes each hour.
"It is important to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible, which is the aim of regular no-symptoms testing. The quickest way to break the transmission chain is for individuals who test positive on a no-symptoms test to self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test.
"Even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep our community safe."
Residents are asked to take a no-symptoms lateral flow device (LFD) test twice a week and, if this is positive, to self-isolate and book a laboratory-processed PCR test by visiting: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling: 119.
For more information about how to access no-symptoms tests visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing.
Anyone with symptoms, including a new, continuous cough, loss or change in smell or taste or a high temperature, should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test.
A pop-up clinic offering first, second and booster vaccines will be held at Chester Cathedral from Wednesday, 15 December, to Tuesday, 21 December, from 10am to 5pm every day apart from Thursday, 16 December, when the clinic will run from 11am to 6pm. No appointment is necessary to attend this clinic.
Vaccine appointments can also be booked across the borough by visiting the national booking system at: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call: 119.
For more information about who is eligible for a vaccine visit: www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk and click on 'COVID-19 vaccination programme – what you need to know'.