Further lockdown "almost inevitable" if COVID-19 rates don't fall sharply, says council leader
Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council's Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.
With the national lockdown set to end in less than 12 days, it's deeply worrying to see COVID-19 cases in the Borough continuing to climb.
This week's COVID-19 dashboard showed there were 849 new cases of COVID-19 for the week ending November 15, a rate of 430.2 per 100,000 population.
That's a rise on the 811 new cases and rate of 410.9 the previous week.
If we don't get these rates down, and get them down quickly, I fear it's almost inevitable the Government will put us into a further local lockdown as soon as the national lockdown ends.
Nobody wants that to happen.
It will be devastating for families and devastating for businesses.
So, we've got less than 12 days to dig deep and follow the rules and get our infection rates down.
It is absolutely critical that we all follow the "hands, face, space" advice and in particular, the rules around mixing with other households.
In this update I'd like to provide some information about a number of things including testing and business grants.
We will continue to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.
Local rapid-result testing
We're now expecting the first batch of 10,000 "lateral flow" tests - which can provide results within an hour - to arrive early next week, followed by approximately 20,000 tests a week.
The region's Directors of Public Health are finalising plans to deploy these tests once they arrive. We'll provide a further update as soon as this is all in place.
Help for businesses
We've paid out more than £1.1million of business grants to 803 businesses since the start of the second national lockdown and we're getting these payments out at quite a pace.
The new local discretionary grants scheme went live today and will provide help for businesses that have been severely affected by the national restrictions and are either:
- a supplier to the Retail, Hospitality or Leisure Industry; or
- a business in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure industry that is required to close due to the restrictions but that does not appear in the rating list with a rateable value but does have business costs such as rent.
Help for vulnerable and elderly people
The COVID Community Support Team can support vulnerable and elderly residents with help collecting shopping, picking up prescriptions or making sure people who are self-isolating and may be worried or lonely get the support they need.
The team can be contacted on 01642 733906 between 9am and 12noon, Monday to Friday or by emailing email@example.com.
Remember, you can keep up with all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in the Borough, including details of the help and support available, via our webpage Stockton Borough Council.