Stoke-on-Trent’s top health chief has issued a stark ‘this is serious’ warning and urged people to avoid large gatherings after a spike in coronavirus cases across the city.
A total of 17 new cases have been confirmed in Stoke-on-Trent in the latest 24-hour update, bringing the total to 1,752 since the start of the pandemic.
And unlike when there was an isolated outbreak concentrated in Normacot last month, the positive tests are now city-wide making it harder to control.
Overall, the Potteries – which remains on the Government’s watch-list as an ‘area of concern’ – has seen 45 new cases over the last four days.
Now residents are being told to avoid large parties to help prevent a Leicester-style local lockdown.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of social care, health integration and wellbeing at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “National cases accelerated to 2,988 today – double recent daily average – and Stoke-on-Trent was similarly up 17.
“That’s 45 cases notified in four days and local a seven-day day rate of 51. This is serious folks and it is a city effect, In Normacot there was only eight cases in seven days
“This is serious – we will head for local restrictions or lockdown if we don’t listen and act.
“Avoid large gatherings like parties, crowded pubs, hen nights and stag dos. Coronavirus thrives on alcohol and poor social distancing.”
The warning comes just days after Health Secretary Matt Hancock says actions taken to contain Stoke-on-Trent’s surge in cases prevented a ‘full-blown local lockdown’.
Mr Hancock, who was responding to a question from Stoke-on-Trent South MP Jack Brereton in the House of Commons, said: “Stoke-on-Trent provides another example of a local action that worked. We did not have to go to a full lockdown, which I am very glad about.
“I am very grateful to the people of Stoke-on-Trent for responding as positively as they did to what were challenging circumstances. At one moment, it looked like there might be a full-blown local lockdown, but that did not happen because Stoke-on-Trent got in there fast and acted.”
The local surge in cases comes as 2,988 people tested positive across the UK making today the highest daily increase in infections since May 19.
There were 175,687 tests processes in the 24 hours previous.
The number of daily infections began topping 1,000 during August and has since been steadily increasing, with 1,940 cases on Friday, 1,735 on Thursday and 1,508 on Wednesday.