‘Do your bit’ plea after coronavirus cases rise in west Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 11:43 11 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:16 11 November 2020
Ian Burt Photography
People living in part of Norfolk which has seen a rise in coronavirus cases are being urged to do their bit to keep themselves and others safe.
West Norfolk has seen an increase in Covid-19 infections which have not been linked to a particular source. Cases more than doubled in the week ending October 30.
The last seven days have seen 26 new cases in Lynn town centre, South Lynn and West Lynn. Cases are still rising in Gaywood, Fairstead and Springwood, Gayton, the Burnhams, Heacham. But numbers are falling in the Woottons, while the virus is shown as suppressed in Hunstanton and parts of the Fens to the south and east of Downham Market.
Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said west Norfolk’s case rate was now 145 per 100,000 people, compared to 88 the previous week.
She said cases were community-based, meaning the virus was spreading in the community rather than a single outbreak at an identified location, such as workers from the same factory.
“There are lots of small outbreaks and clusters, most of which are small numbers of cases,” she said.
She added some clusters had been linked to schools and workplaces such as care homes.
Some 32 patients are being treated for Covid-19 at the Queen Elizbeth Hospital, one of whom is in intensive care.
At a briefing today, West Norfolk council leaders appealed for people to follow lockdown guidance aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.
Stuart Dark, its cabinet member for public protection said: “Please follow the rules. What you do today will have an impact tomorrow and will determine how we emerge from lockdown when the national restrictions end.
“What we do in the next few weeks is crucial. We must act together to make a difference now, to drive the numbers of cases down. Every little action that each of us takes will add up to a big shift.”
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said: “Everyone in west Norfolk can play their part now by following the rules to bring infection rates under control so that when the national restrictions end Norfolk can go back to fewer restrictions on our way of life.”
New national restrictions are in place until December 2 to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on the NHS.
Caroline Shaw, chief executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “The Trust is doing everything it can to safely care for our patients this winter but we really need our local community to help us by playing their part. This includes getting a flu jab if you are eligible for one and following government guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks.
“These actions will help reduce the spread of Covid-19 as well as flu, both of which will reduce pressure on beds at QEH and our staff.”
She said there were many ways patients could access care this winter.
Pharmacists can provide advice on medicines and care for the common cold and very minor injuries.
Ms Shaw added: “GPs should be the first port of call for longer term issues while our hospital is there for urgent, life-threatening conditions like suspected stroke, heart attack or for suspected fractures and wounds that won’t stop bleeding.”
Insp Mark Askham, of Lynn police, said: “It has been a tough year for our communities in west Norfolk. People have fundamentally changed the way they carry out everyday life and we recognise the huge challenge and sacrifice this continues to bring.
“We now find ourselves seven months into the pandemic and in a second national lockdown and it is so important that each of us play our part in tackling the virus and reducing the spread. People know what the risks are and what is expected of them in relation to the rules.
“Officers will look to engage and establish people’s circumstances in a fair, sensible and proportionate manner. That said, for the small minority who breach the rules, they can expect a fixed penalty notice and a fine.”
West Norfolk residents are being reminded of how vital it is to minimise contact with each other, for example, in busy places such as school drop-offs and pick-ups.
It is also vital that anyone required to self-isolate – if they have Covid-19 symptoms or have received a positive test result, or lives with someone who has coronavirus – does so.
The comments came as the latest support is announced to help businesses and communities through the restrictions. Grants will be available for businesses who are closed for ‘in person’ services with the amount of the grant dependent on the rateable value of the business on the date lockdown started. An application process will be in place for the grants, and businesses will need to complete the form to confirm they are eligible for the grant, including declaring that they have been legally required to close. The form will be found on the council’s website shortly.
The council will also be extending support through its Ask Lily website to vulnerable residents.
The council will be using the grounds of North Lynn Community Centre for the provision of emergency accommodation throughout the winter.
This will consist of six self-contained welfare cabins, while there will be four additional pods located in South Lynn.
Lorraine Gore, chief executive of West Norfolk council, said: “Working with Norfolk Public Health and our partners, our priority over the next few weeks is giving west Norfolk all the support and assistance we can to help us get through this period of national restrictions and to put west Norfolk in the best place possible for whatever tier restrictions will apply after this period.
“As a resident of the borough myself and with friends and family living locally I am as passionate as I know the rest of the west Norfolk community is to work together to do everything we can to protect ourselves, protect each other and protect west Norfolk.
“We will be talking to our high schools and the College of West Anglia as our young people, I am sure, are as concerned as the rest of our community to get through this crisis.
“We know that this is a very challenging time for everyone – not least local businesses – and I want to assure everyone in west Norfolk that we will do everything we can to help you to get through this crisis. But it’s so important that we all act together to stop the spread of the virus.”
People are being urged to observe the guidelines:
• Stay at home as much as you can
• Don’t meet people indoors
• Only meet one person outside
• Only make essential journeys
• Remember: hands, face, space
• Self-isolate if you have Covid-19 symptoms or have received a positive test result, or live with someone who has coronavirus.
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