FOLLOWING the announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday to move to step 4 of the roadmap, Cheshire East Council is warning that Covid cases are soaring across the borough.

Covid-19 infection rates of the highly transmissible Delta variant continue to increase at an alarming rate in the borough (474 cases per 100,000 in the latest week July 10 to July16 ) and have more than trebled since the beginning of the month.

Positive cases among those aged 18 to 30 and who remain un-vaccinated are particularly high especially in Macclesfield and Crewe areas.

Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Sam Corcoran, said: "The huge increase in Covid-19 cases is extremely worrying and this will undoubtedly lead to more disruption, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths.

"We have heard the government announce the ending of most restrictions, but I am strongly urging our residents to continue to be cautious as we might not hit the peak of infections for several more weeks and it is therefore vital for all of us to get vaccinated and to wear a mask to protect others in crowded or close proximity settings.

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "I have said it before, but this pandemic is far from over.

"We have a duty to ensure our residents are aware of the impact it is continuing to have, predominantly among those who are still not fully vaccinated.

"I would encourage anyone who has not yet done so, to make an appointment for their vaccination as soon as possible."

Winsford Guardian:

Matt Tyrer, director of public health across Cheshire East and Merseyside

Dr Matt Tyrer, director of public health at Cheshire East Council, said: "This is a very serious situation and it’s going to get far worse before it gets any better.

"Working alongside the other Directors of Public Health across Cheshire and Merseyside, working together as the Champs Public Health Collaborative, collectively we have issued a joint statement asking those living and working in the area to go above and beyond the minimum required, in the light of rising Covid-19 infections locally and changes to the national restrictions.

"People are being asked to take their individual and collective role to reduce the transmission of the virus incredibly seriously, and not see the 19th July as a reason to stop all behaviours that have slowed down the spread of the virus over the past sixteen months, especially when in close contact with others.

"This is very important, as infection rates are high in the area and historically, the North West of England has been more impacted by the virus than other areas, due to structural inequalities. This means recovery from the pandemic will take longer unless residents continue to take steps to minimise harm right now.

"This advice will also support 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.”

People living, visiting, and working in Cheshire East are advised to:

• Get fully vaccinated – it's shown to be safe and effective against the virus, including new variants and is the best way to keep yourself from getting seriously ill. It also reduces the risk of passing the virus on to someone else;

• Be kind and considerate of others who may be feeling extremely nervous about the further lifting of restrictions;

• Continue wearing face coverings in crowded indoor areas where social distancing cannot be followed, such as supermarkets and on public transport, in health and social care settings, such as hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries, and where it would make others feel more comfortable;

• Continue social distancing by not unnecessarily being in crowded areas and continuing to work from home if possible;

• Try to meet others outside where possible;

• Continue to practice good hand hygiene, in particular hand washing;

• Keep getting tested - everyone should undertake twice weekly rapid symptom free testing using Lateral Flow Tests (LFT). If people experience generally associated symptoms such as a headache, a stuffed or runny nose, tiredness or weakness, aches and pains, sore throat or diarrhoea, they should take an LFT and follow up with a PCR test if the LFT test is positive. If people have any of the main symptoms of Covid-19 such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste they must stay at home and book a PCR test;

• Self-isolate if you have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19, especially if you work in a high-risk setting.

Businesses and workplaces in Cheshire East are also asked to:

• Continue to adhere to Covid-19 working safely guidance, including provision of washing facilities and proper ventilation with external fresh air;

• Continue to engage with the Test, Trace and Isolate process, and increase testing if your workplace has had an outbreak;

• Encourage your employees to get tested if they suspect they have Covid-19 symptoms and self-isolate if positive;

• Encourage your employees to have both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine when it is offered.