Council chiefs are warning residents over Covid-19 complacency – after 15 new cases were reported in Stoke-on-Trent.
Six of the new cases are in outbreak-hit Normacot, while four are elsewhere in the south east of the city, and five in other area.
This surge in coronavirus infections follows several days of relatively low numbers of new cases, which had led to public health officials hoping that the recent uptick, centred on Normacot, had receded.
But they now face a nervous wait to see if Stoke-on-Trent will be included in the government’s updated Covid-19 watchlist on Friday – which could lead to new restrictions or even a local lockdown.
Another nine Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Newcastle, which has also seen a rise in infections in the past week. It is not yet known how many of these new cases are related to the outbreak linked to Silverdale Workingmen’s Club.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown says residents must continue to abide by social distancing and hygeine guidelines if Stoke-on-Trent is to avoid being placed on the government’s watchlist. This guidance includes washing hands, wearing face coverings and keeping your distance when out and about.
She said: “The new cases are not confined to one geographic area and show that the coronavirus remains present across the city. We are analysing this new data to drill down into any links between the cases and how they developed. The intelligence we have to work with is increasingly sophisticated and our teams are working through this information swiftly, as soon as we receive the data. All cases have been immediately contacted and all are self-isolating, as are their close contacts.
“We had experienced a number of days with only a small handful of new cases, before today. What this continues to demonstrate is that there can be no room for complacency, we must all do all we can to stop the spread of infection.
“Earlier this week I spoke about how we had reached a ‘tipping point’ in cases related to the recent spike in Normacot and associated high rise in people getting tested.
“The government will look at data from this period when it produces its weekly coronavirus ‘watch list’ areas of the country tomorrow. We do not know at this stage which areas will be on this watch list. But what we do know is that since we reached that tipping point, people have continued to respond responsibly and seriously to the virus.
“We have been telling residents, businesses and communities for the past two weeks of the very real threat of the coronavirus, how it spreads quickly and how it can rapidly lead to a rise in cases. We have seen in Normacot businesses, religious settings, schools and communities working with us, taking the initiative themselves to reduce the spread of the virus by voluntarily closing mosques, following Covid-secure guidance, and limiting household-to-household contact.
“We need the whole city to work with us, for residents to protect themselves and each other. We are about to enter the late summer bank holiday weekend. Unfortunately, it is not a time to go out and disregard the rules. My message is clear: that if we all don’t follow the public health guidance in taking all the necessary steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus, then we will face the very real prospect of having restrictions in place that will limit our movements and could lead to local lockdowns. No-one wants this to happen. We all have to continue to act responsibly now, so that our destiny remains in our own hands.”
Residents can book coronavirus tests at the regional testing centre at the bet365 Stadium. It is located on Stanley Matthews Way, Trentham Lakes, ST4 4EG. Bookings can be made via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, or ringing 119, where help is available in other languages.