fourth wave - Covid testing sign in Crewe

There is “a high chance” of a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases in Cheshire East if residents do not follow government guidance, writes Ethan Davies.

That’s the warning from CEC Labour leader Sam Corcoran, despite a drop in cases to 51.8 in 100,000 – below the England average of 58.7.

Yesterday (March 15), there were 23 new cases in Cheshire East – a fall of almost 25% in just a week.

Cllr Corcoran believes the pandemic picture locally “will improve this year” if vaccines continue to work as effectively as they do now.

He said: “With the locally-run vaccination programme going so well, it is natural for people to start thinking about the recovery from the pandemic.

“I still think there is a high chance of a fourth wave if people don’t follow the basic rules of hands-face-space. That’s washing hands regularly with soap and water, wearing a face covering, and staying 2m apart.

“Unless there is a variant which evades the vaccines, then I believe things will improve by this summer.”

He believes “any impact of children going back to school will begin to show in next week’s figures”.

Meanwhile, more than one in six care home staff in Cheshire East have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

NHS data shows 4,125 workers in care homes for older adults in Cheshire East were eligible for a first dose of a vaccination up to March 7, but just 3,412 received it.

It means 17% of staff, including agency workers, have not had a jab. But this figure is significantly lower than the national and north west averages of 26% and 27% respectively.

Now, UNISON, which represents care workers, say employees should be encouraged, not intimidated, into receiving a jab and added that those who are uncertain needed support.

Gavin Edwards, the union’s national officer for social care, said: “Everyone who can have a jab should, including social care staff, but some employers are intimidating their employees which leads to a lack of trust in the vaccine.

“Staff who are hesitant need support, accurate information and the chance to talk about their concerns.

“Care employees work long shifts, antisocial hours and at different sites. Vaccinations need to be offered at a convenient time and place for workers.”

A growing number of care home providers have made it a requirement for new staff to have the Covid-19 vaccine.

Additionally, Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty said healthcare staff had a “professional responsibility” to get vaccinated.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have visited every eligible care home in England, offered vaccines to all staff, and are doing everything we can to ensure all those who can, take up the vital offer.

“All eligible staff can book using the national booking service.

“We continue to work closely with the care sector and local leaders in communities with lower take up to maximise vaccination numbers and save thousands of lives.”

Staff members and residents in care homes for older adults are in the top four priority groups for the vaccination.

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