Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council’s Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.
Despite yesterday’s announcement that we’ll be placed in Tier 3 local restrictions next week, we shouldn’t lose sight of the progress we’ve made in recent weeks.
Our weekly COVID-19 dashboard showed there were 590 new cases of COVID-19 for the week ending November 22, a rate of 299.0 per 100,000 population.
That’s lower than it was when the second national lockdown started on November 5 and it’s a big drop on the previous week’s rate of 455.5 per 100,000 population.
And that’s testament to the efforts people have put in.
The challenge now is to keep it going and get those numbers down even further.
Let’s not waste this opportunity we now have.
Let’s keep on following the rules.
The Government has said they’ll review the current tier allocations by December 16 so that gives us something to aim for.
Thank you for all you are doing – we will continue to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.
Local community testing
We are seeking urgent clarity from Government about their offer of support to introduce wide-scale testing in Tier 3 areas, which they announced yesterday.
This afternoon we received delivery of our first 10,000 lateral flow – or “rapid-result” tests – but these are the tests the Government announced early this month.
We’d been planning to focus a lot of these tests on care homes but we also learnt yesterday that the Government will now be leading on this aspect of the testing.
So, we’ll need to rework our plans for how we use these lateral flow tests.
But before we can do that we need full details on the offer of wide-scale “mass testing” announced yesterday. We need to understand how these two things fit together.
Help for businesses
We’ve paid out more than £1.7million of business grants to more than 1,000 businesses since the start of the second national lockdown.
And we’re getting them paid out at quite a pace.
The new local discretionary grants scheme went live last Friday – we’ve had 141 applications and paid out £431,000 in the first week.
Full details and application forms are available on our dedicated business support webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/businesssupport.
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.
In fact, since the start of the current lockdown they have received more than 1,000 calls and provided shopping, prescriptions, specialist mental health advice and other forms of support to more than 200 people.
This is truly vital work and I’d like to thank everybody involved, particularly our wonderful VCSE organisations, because they are making a huge difference to so many people’s lives.
The team can be contacted on 01642 733906 between 9am and 12noon, Monday to Friday or by emailing [email protected].
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 www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus.