Our weekly COVID-19 dashboard has shown the number of COVID-19 cases across the Borough has fallen, though the infection rate remains high and there have sadly been 12 more COVID-related deaths this week.
There were 370 new cases during the week ending February 14, a rate of 187.5 per 100,00 population.
We need to get those numbers down even further and I call on everyone to continue playing their part to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
If we all follow the national lockdown rules we can help to reduce the spread of the virus.
Changes to the ‘shielding’ list
The Government has extended the shielding period for people defined as ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ from February 21 to March 31.
Alongside this, the definition of ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ is being expanded to take in risk factors relating to weight, ethnicity, medication and underlying health issues.
There are around 10,000 people classed as ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ in our Borough and we expect these changes will bring another 3,700 people into that group.
The NHS National Shielding Programme is now sending letters to everybody in the ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ group.
The letters will provide advice on shielding and will also explain that the NHS will be in touch with you to offer a vaccination appointment soon.
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, shielding 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 [email protected].
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, Thornaby Pavilion and Stockton Splash.
It’s very quick and easy to do the test, you receive the result within half an hour, and you can be tested regularly if you like.
Please remember all tests must be booked in advance via www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/testing.
The tests are free of charge and aim to identify people who have COVID-19 but aren’t displaying any symptoms, so they know they need to self-isolate.
Testing for residents with COVID-19 symptoms
Remember, if you DO have any 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 can be booked either online or by calling 119.
Help for people who are struggling financially
A lot of people are facing financial hardship due to the effects of COVID-19.
You can find 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.
For more information visit www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/financialsupport.
Help for businesses
We continue to process and administer a wide range of grants to support local businesses through this extremely challenging time.
You can keep up to date with the details of all of our business grants and the financial support available for your business at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/businesssupport.
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 at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus.