Cheshire West and Chester in line for enhanced support package to tackle COVID-19 Delta variant outbreaks
14 June 2021It has been announced that Cheshire West and Chester will be given a national enhanced support package to boost local work to tackle a rapid increase in the new Delta variant of COVID-19.
In less than three weeks the seven-day infection rate in the borough rose from five per 100,000 on 23 May to at least 113 per 100,000 on 8 June.
Early testing data shows that more than 85% of these cases are more likely to belong to the new Delta Variant B.1.617.2, the variant first identified in India.
This variant is more transmissible than previous variants and cases are rising in other areas of the north west, including Cheshire East, Warrington, Halton, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, which are also receiving the enhanced support packages, along with a growing list of areas across the country.
Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “I’d like to reassure residents that the enhanced support package does not represent a local lockdown or a return to a tiered system. It offers extra support and guidance on the simple things residents can do to play their part and keep friends and family safe. It also helps us put the case to government for more vaccine supplies, to continue to make progress in protecting our communities.”
Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We have seen cases of the new Delta variant of Coronavirus increase dramatically over the last couple of weeks in Cheshire, in particular significant outbreaks related to pubs and in our schools.
“We know what impacts this can have on our physical health, but it also significantly impacts on the mental health of those affected when we see education lost and businesses having to close.
“Having seen the substantial increase in transmission in our neighbours in Greater Manchester, it was sadly only a matter of time before the spread was to be seen across Cheshire given our strong links with friends and family, work and travel.
“Alongside neighbouring boroughs, the government has therefore identified Cheshire as an area to provide additional national support to maximise our own local response and help prevent further cases.
“We know the importance of the vaccine programme, with all the current evidence showing the massively positive protective benefits of having both doses of the vaccine in helping prevent serious illness and hospitalisation of the new Delta Variant.
“We are therefore asking for significant increases in the vaccine supply for our communities and much-improved access to vaccination clinics across our borough, alongside greater levels of testing and self-isolation support.
“We know the importance of keeping to the basics after this last year in terms of hands, face, space and fresh air. In particular we would like to remind everyone where possible to meet outside rather inside wherever you can and to minimise our travel to areas with really high rates.”
The enhanced support package is expected to provide the Council with additional national support to maximise the existing local response and help prevent further cases.
This is likely to include enhanced vaccine access and supply, increased testing in key areas, enhanced contact tracing and more face-to-face engagement with communities.
Council leaders from across Cheshire have also written to the Secretary of State requesting additional vaccine supply to enable faster progress vaccinating younger age groups.
The Delta COVID-19 variant spreads more easily from person to person and everyone who lives and works in the borough is advised to take extra caution, as follows.
• Meet outside rather than inside where possible
• Keep two metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you do not live with
• Minimise travel in and out of affected areas
Anyone aged 25 and over is invited to book their COVID-19 vaccine. Visit: www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk for more information.
There are significant outbreaks in the Northwich and Winsford areas and anyone who lives or works in those areas is being asked to book a COVID-19 test called a PCR test, whether or not they have symptoms or have been vaccinated.
To book a test visit: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and select 'My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms' or call 119.
A mobile PCR testing unit is currently based in Cumberland Car Park, Leicester Street, Northwich. This is for pre-booked appointments from noon to 8pm. Another PCR local testing centre is located at the Old Depot, Leicester Street in Northwich. This provides PCR tests daily from 8am-8pm.
There is a mobile PCR testing unit in the car park of Winsford Academy, with pre-booked appointments available from 9am to 4pm. There is also a PCR Testing Centre in Winsford at Queensway. This provides PCR tests daily from 8am-8pm.
In addition, all residents in the borough are asked to take no-symptoms COVID-19 tests, called Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) twice a week. For full information on where to get tested or pick up home testing kits visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing
Anyone with symptoms, including a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change in your sense of smell or taste, should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test at: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call: 119.