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Council urges residents to remain cautious

Friday, July 16th, 2021 12:32pm

By Philip Churm, local democracy reporter

Plymouth covid cases continue to rise

Plymouth City Council is urging residents to remain cautious about the risks of catching and spreading covid ahead of so-called ‘freedom day” on Monday, when most national restrictions come to an end. 

The number of confirmed cases in the city has continued to rise; last week reaching its highest level since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020. Plymouth’s rate of infection is now higher than the average figure for England. 

Councillors are asking people to continue to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, even if not legally required to do so, as well as to get tested, stay outside whenever possible and to get vaccinated.

Staff and visitors in council buildings are being told to wear face coverings and wash hands or use hand sanitiser before entering and to maintain a safe distance.

Councillor Nick Kelly, leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “The government has been clear that the dangers from coronavirus are far from over and that we need to be cautious and take responsibility for our actions after the national restrictions are lifted.

“This is critical as cases continue to increase in Plymouth and more people in our community become infected. The council will be maintaining its current covid-19-secure measures after 19 July to keep its customers and staff safe. I know many other employers and venues are also likely to continue to exercise caution in line with the government guidance and ask people to wear face coverings in busy indoor spaces. I hope everyone will support them and do their bit to keep Plymouth safe.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that during the week to 9 July, 1,113 new cases were confirmed in Plymouth, an increase on the previous week’s total of 458.

This is a rate of 425 per 100,000 people. The current rate for England is 339 per 100,000 people. 

The total number of confirmed cases in Plymouth since the start of the outbreak now stands at 11,391.

Dr Ruth Harrell, director of public health for Plymouth, said: “As the government has outlined, covid-19 will continue to pose a significant risk after the mandatory restrictions are lifted. The rapid rise in cases in Plymouth in recent weeks shows just how quickly the virus can spread around our community. We cannot afford to ease up now on our combined efforts to fight the virus.

“We know from experience in Plymouth that we want to keep each other safe; as well as ourselves. As we go through into the Step 4 of the roadmap there are four things that we can do to keep each other safe;

  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces
  • Get tested
  • Stay outside where possible
  • Get your vaccinations

“Please also remember that although the vaccine helps greatly to stop you becoming seriously ill, you can still catch covid-19, and pass it on to others. So even if you have been double-vaccinated, please still follow these measures.”

Although the number of confirmed cases of covid-19 has increased, the number of deaths associated with coronavirus has continued to fall as more people become fully vaccinated. 

But Dr Harrell insists that everyone still needs to be cautious. “Around 30 per cent of new cases have caught covid-19 from a household member, another 10 per cent in other settings that can be identified, but the majority (around 60 per cent) do not know where it has come from,” she said.

All we know is that the more close social contacts that you have, the greater the chance of being infected; especially at the moment when rates are so high.

“We are likely to have a few weeks with high rates, and now is another time when we have to pull together to keep Plymouth safe.”

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