Statement from the Council for 16.10.2020

Date: 
Friday, October 16, 2020

Council statement for 16 October 2020

 

Please note these briefings will now be twice weekly.

COVID alert levels – a new three tier system for England

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-new-local-covid-alert-levels

The three tier system for England came into force on 14th October. Information on local COVID alert levels, including what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know

What this means for Rochford district

On 13 October Essex County Council applied to the Secretary of State for Health to be placed into the new ‘High level’ banding of Covid-19 restrictions.

https://www.essex.gov.uk/news/essex-leaders-and-mps-request-move-to-high-level-covid-restrictions-as

Yesterday, 15 October, the Secretary of State confirmed that the geographical areas to which Essex County Council relates, would move to the High level with effect from Saturday 17 October. This does not apply to geographical areas which fall under Southend Borough Council or Thurrock Council which remain, at this time, at the Medium level.

https://www.essex.gov.uk/news/government-confirms-essex-to-move-to-high-covid-alert-level

An explanation of what restrictions will come into force is set out here:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-high

This means on top of restrictions which are already in place for Rochford district:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; these will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

You must:

  • wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

More information including support you can access if required through the Essex Wellbeing Service can be found via www.essex.gov.uk/coronavirus

Residents should familiarise themselves with the new restrictions and be assured that there is a commitment across Essex’s Leaders to enforce this strictly. Residents should reduce social contact and remain within family groups and/or your support bubble only. Only travel when necessary. Continue to regularly wash hands, keep your face covered and remain 2m apart.

For information, further explanations relating to Medium and Very High levels can be found via the links below.

Very High - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-very-high

Medium - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-medium

Other guidance

All of Government’s previously issued guidance has been updated to reflect the new COVID alert levels. All businesses are encouraged to re-read their sector specific guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july

New posters have been produced which set out the alert levels graphically. Businesses and other premises owners are encouraged to print and display these:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-covid-alert-level-posters

The data

Essex County Council’s approach to the Secretary of State was made on the basis of the following data:

https://www.essex.gov.uk/news/the-data-that-shows-why-we-need-a-high-covid-19-alert-level

Cases of coronavirus are rapidly increasing all over Essex.  Analysis has shown that all areas (except Maldon at the time of the analysis) had moved to epidemic growth. This means that cases have been doubling every week, as evidenced in the table below.

Graph showing weekly cases

 

The difference in rates for each area between 1-11 October are also shown below. The rates are the number cases per 100,000 residents per week and while they are low, the fact remains they are doubling everywhere across Essex. It is believed that this trend will continue over the coming weeks and we will soon find ourselves in the same position as many northern towns.

Table - cases per 100,000 per week

In the table above, it is important to note that the places with the lowest rates now have rates similar to those of places with the highest rates 10 days ago. These places are therefore only a week or so behind those with the highest rates, which are in turn are a week or so behind areas in the North and Midlands.

Additionally, while hospital admissions are thankfully low, the fact remains that there are currently 57 people with coronavirus in Essex hospitals, while a month ago there were none. There have also been 13 deaths due to Covid-19 in Essex hospitals in the last three weeks following a month with no deaths.

While these numbers remain low, they are increasing at an alarming rate and it is believed that if we don’t take action soon, we are likely to see a doubling in line with the increasing cases soon.

The County Council and the Director of Public Health have a responsibility to make decisions based on what the evidence tells us, in order to protect residents, local health services, schools and businesses, and it has considered how best to do this for the people of Essex. The interventions implemented within the ‘High’ tier of measures have been devised by SAGE to reduce the rate of transmission and reverse case growth.

ECC has used the below model to show the potential impact if the introduction of High level restrictions is delayed:

It is believed that by moving to the High tier sooner, the curve will turn quicker and the peak will be lower. This will reduce the time the districts and boroughs spend within this tier, as well as the chances of needing to move to ‘Very High’. It is the County Council’s intention to work rapidly to reduce the amount of time spent under High tier restrictions.

model to show the potential impact if the introduction of High level restrictions is delayed:

Shielding

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/clinically-extremely-vulnerable-receive-updated-advice-tailored-to-local-covid-alert-levels

Whilst there has not been any national re-introduction of the “shielding” advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people. There will be new guidance to help them reduce their risk from coronavirus, tailored to where they live.

Childcare

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

This guidance is for parents and carers and covers changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities, and other out-of-school settings for children and young people aged 5 and over during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The guidance has been updated to reflect COVID alert levels. Currently, supervised activities, training and education for children can continue to operate at all alert levels both inside and outdoors.

Rough sleepers

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rough-sleepers-to-be-helped-to-keep-safe-this-winter

Support will give local areas the tools and funding they need to protect people from life-threatening cold weather and the risks posed by coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-provision-of-night-shelters

Operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people experiencing rough sleeping has been published.

Remembrance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-preparations-for-remembrance-sunday

As of 14 September, there are new legal requirements which apply to Remembrance Sunday events. Other information contained in this note is based on existing guidance and has been brought together to aid those organising local activities for Remembrance Sunday.

Fraud

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-hotline-launched-to-report-covid-fraudsters

There has been a number of incidences of fraud associated with financial schemes introduced as part of the national response to COVID 19. A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters.

HMRC

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/defer-your-self-assessment-payment-on-account-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Guidance on what you need to do after 31 July 2020 if you chose to defer your second payment on account for the 2019 to 2020 tax year has been updated.

NHS advice

Everyone is reminded to follow the NHS advice which includes preventative measures about social distancing. Please also remember to keep your hands clean, especially if you have been outside e.g. at the supermarket or using an ATM.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Please use our website!

Don’t forget a lot of useful content is available via our website and this will be updated regularly, so www.rochford.gov.uk is the best place to check first and we have a dedicated section at www.rochford.gov.uk/coronavirus. Our other media channels are also good sources of information - www.rochford.gov.uk/tellmemoreFacebook: Rochford District CouncilInstagram: @RochfordDC and Twitter: @RochfordDC

We would like to reassure everyone that we are working closely with our partners from across Essex in the NHS, emergency services, county council and other local authorities, ensuring that well-practiced plans are put into place.

Updates

The council is monitoring Government guidance daily and will be issuing communications to staff, members and the public regularly, so please watch our website, sign up for e-mail alerts or go to our social media channels to keep up-to-date with the latest information.

*Graphs and tables supplied by Essex County Council in this format only.