Coronavirus: Protect West Norfolk together message from officials as steep rise in cases reported
West Norfolk officials are urging the public to help the area come out of lockdown in a strong position.
The message comes as the area has seen a steep rise in Covid-19 cases, increasing from 88 to a weekly rate of 145 per 100,000 people up to November 9.
Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health said this rate makes West Norfolk the second highest district in the county with a "small number of unknown outbreaks" in the community and schools.
She said the early evidence supports the need to go into lockdown due to the increase of transmission in the community which has made the total number of cases across the area go "significantly up".
Councillor Stuart Dark, cabinet member for environmental services and public protection, said the authority is working with schools to ensure parents and pupils are aware of the need to help reduce the risk of transmission outside the school gates.
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.
Mr Dark added: "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.
“We can influence the tier that West Norfolk will be placed in and the rules that we will face when we come out of the national restrictions. But only if each of us acts together."
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said he reluctantly voted to introduce national lockdown restrictions knowing the damage it would have on local businesses.
He referred to the rate of infection increasing and the strain on the NHS as a reason for implementing a second lockdown, and called on everyone to play their part so the area can go back to fewer restrictions on December 2.
There is currently one coronavirus patient in intensive care at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital with 32 on the coronavirus wards.
Chief executive Caroline Shaw 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.
“There are many ways patients can access care this winter – local pharmacists can provide advice on medicines and care for the common cold a very minor injuries, 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. Choosing the right service will ensure patients can get the care they need quickly.”
Among the actions the public can take to help reduce the rate of infection are getting a test if they displays signs of symptoms, following social distancing regulations, wearing face masks and washing hands.
West Norfolk Council chief executive Lorraine Gore said the public has been reassured by the presence of Covid marshalls in Lynn town centre.
She said: "We have some marshals in urban areas who increase that presence for people on the ground. It is very much about educating and engaging with businesses."
Council leader Brian Long added: "I would like to thank the people of West Norfolk, not just the key workers but the public at large. We have all got to play our part in making a difference to beat this virus and we can only do this with the public's help."
The council will be offering various means of support with application forms for business grants being made available on the website from next week.
It will also be extending its support offer through Lily to vulnerable residents in the area. Anyone can refer to Lily and individuals can self-refer.
North Lynn Community Centre will be used for the provision of emergency accommodation throughout the winter. The accommodation will consist of six self-contained welfare cabins and the site will be supervised 24/7.
And whilst Alive West Norfolk sites have closed during the national restrictions, people can still stay fit thanks to Alive’s Active at Home online fitness classes.
Responding to a media question on hopes for a vaccination, Mr Dark said: "With the current talk around vaccinations taking weeks or months, it should not detract from the number of infection rates rising in our community.
"We are not just hoping for the vaccine but individual and collective efforts so if the vaccine comes it can be when transmission rates are low. It is about what can we do now to make the situation better for neighbours and the NHS."