Caring during Covid Crisis (1)

The Director of Public Health for Cheshire has issued a strong plea to residents to stay home as COVID cases and deaths continue to rise.

There are fears the worst is yet to come in the next few weeks, as cases “alarmingly” increase.

COVID cases are already putting NHS hospitals such as Leighton Hospital and Countess of Chester Hospital under extreme pressure.

According to Cheshire East Council data from January 5, there were 1,800 positive cases in Cheshire East in the previous seven days – an increase from 1,246 cases the week before.

That’s an increase from 469 to 556 cases per 100,000 population.

And it’s fear the full effect of the latest lockdown will not be felt for a few weeks yet.

Under the rules, people are strongly requested to stay at home and only leave the house for essential reasons such as getting a COVID test, food shopping, work, education, exercise or helping someone vulnerable.

A full list of what is permitted is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Ian Ashworth, current Chair of the Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health Board, said: “The next few weeks are going to be extremely difficult and it will be some time until we see the impact of the lockdown take effect.

“People need to stay at home as much as possible.

“Only shop when necessary. Exercise away from other people.

“If you cannot work from home and have a symptom free test centre in your area, get tested regularly so you can self-isolate before symptoms show.

“We are working hard with health and government partners to speed up and unblock barriers to the rollout of the vaccine for the most vulnerable groups but this will not happen overnight.

“We now have a number of licensed vaccines which will mean more vaccines becoming available locally.

“In the meantime, we need people to double their efforts to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has seen over a million vulnerable people and those that care for them vaccinated so far.

The Nantwich primary care network vaccination centre at the Civic Hall began vaccinations on Thursday.

Thousands of vulnerable patients are expected to receive their vaccinations here in the coming weeks.

Members of the public will be invited by the NHS when it is their turn for a vaccination.

Directors urge those waiting for their vaccine to be patient and not contact the NHS or their GP surgery as it will take time for the vaccine to be rolled out to all priority groups.

“If residents follow the rules and stay at home, then lockdown restrictions will end sooner and people can look forward to better times ahead,” they added.

If you develop symptoms of COVID (fever, new continuous cough or loss/change of taste or smell) you can obtain a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.

If your test is positive you must follow the guidance including self-isolating immediately. More information on self-isolating can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

For those who need support during this difficult time please visit www.kindtoyourmind.org which has details of 24/7 crisis helplines and resources to help mental wellbeing.

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