January 29: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council's Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.
Although there has been a fall in infections this week, I'm very sad to say there have now been 401 COVID-related deaths in the Borough since the start of the pandemic.
Rates of COVID-19 infections in the Borough remain high too and worryingly, the new variant accounted for 84 per cent of new cases here last week.
There were 679 new COVID cases in the Borough during the week ending 24 January, a rate of 344.1 per 100,000 population.
That compares with 795 new cases recorded the previous week, a rate of 402.8 per 100,000 population.
This continues to put enormous pressure on our NHS, not just in terms of treatment for COVID patients but also the impact on people needing treatment for other things.
Once again, I call on us all to do our bit to keep our friends and loved ones safe by following the national lockdown rules.
Cancellation of events
As you can imagine, it takes a number of months to put together the major events we all enjoy and so we've had to make a decision to cancel all our events until July. We've made this decision now to give us time to inform all of the partners and contributors involved. We will keep the situation with events under review for the period after that.
Testing for residents without COVID-19 symptoms
We have three testing centres for people without COVID-19 symptoms who live or work in the Borough - they are at Billingham Forum, Splash, and Thornaby Pavilion.
It's really quick and easy to do the test, you get a result in half an hour, and you can go and get tested regularly if you like.
The aim of this free testing is to identify people who have COVID-19 but don't have any symptoms, so that they know they need to isolate.
Testing for residents with COVID-19 symptoms
Remember, if you DO have any of the COVID-19 symptoms - high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - you need to book a test through the NHS. Tests are free and you can book by calling 119.
Help for people who are struggling financially
We appreciate that a lot of people are struggling financially because of COVID-19 and there's lots of information on our website about welfare support, the £500 Test and Trace support payments, housing support, help with Council Tax, and the Hardship Fund.
Help for vulnerable and elderly people
The COVID Community Support Team can help vulnerable and elderly residents by collecting shopping, picking up prescriptions or making sure people who are self-isolating and may be worried or lonely get the support they need.
You can contact the team on 01642 733906 between 9am and 12noon, Monday to Friday, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Help for businesses
We continue to deliver a wide range of business grants and this week we launched Round 2 of the Additional Restrictions Grant, which is a discretionary grant supporting businesses which are struggling to survive under the national lockdown restrictions.
This new grant runs alongside the ongoing payments to eligible businesses under the six other grant schemes that are now in place to support businesses in the Borough.
Well done Fujifilm
Finally, we've had some good news this week in the shape of yesterday's announcement that the new Novavax vaccine is to be made at Fujifilm in Billingham.
I'm so proud to see a business our Borough leading the vaccine effort and I'd like to congratulate and thank everyone involved.
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.