The Leader of Kent County Council has called on people in Kent to act together to keep Covid-19 under control as the Kent Director for Public Health says we need to avoid parts of the county moving to higher covid risk tiers.
Director for Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark says cases are rising across the whole of Kent and Medway, with a worrying increase in cases across Swale, particularly on the Isle of Sheppey.
There are a number of cases associated with residential settings, workplaces and secondary schools, and while some are contained outbreaks, there may also be some community transmission which is helping the virus to continue to spread.
He said: “We are currently below the regional and national average for rates of cases, which means Kent and Medway are deemed as medium risk and within tier 1 restrictions.
“To avoid parts of the county moving to higher tiers, we appeal to the wider community in Kent to play its part and if you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service, then you should follow the guidance given to self-isolate.
“I urge everyone to play their part by closely following social distancing, regular handwashing and wearing a mask in public places to help keep the number of cases as low as possible.”
In Thanet numbers remain below the national average although there has been a rise in positive cases with a total of 1133 so far.
Fifty-nine new positive cases have been recorded in the week up until October 16 according to government dashboard data based on tier 1 and tier 2 testing (pillar 1: swab testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers and pillar 2: swab testing for the wider population)
This is a seven day rolling rate of 41.6 (per 100,000) which is below the national average. However, several Thanet schools have closed year bubbles recently due to covid cases.
A government map showing the Thanet areas currently showing the most cases (dark green).
Andrew Scott-Clark says there is no simple answer to why cases are growing at a greater rate in some areas.
The county council says there is targeted work going on regarding ethnic communities and young people but otherwise the messages for the public remain the same, based on social distancing reminders.
Mr Scott-Clark added: “There are variations in current rates across the county and we are seeing a rise in cases locally and nationally so it is really important that residents play their part to help protect themselves and others, particularly the most vulnerable members of the community who are most at risk from severe symptoms, and continue to follow the national guidelines.
“There are a range of factors which could affect the infection rate of the virus in a particular area. These could include the age and density of the population, number of hospitals and care homes, the levels of testing both in the community and hospital plus the numbers of commuters travelling to and from London.
We are continuing to work with our partners across Kent, including Public Health England local health protection teams and the NHS, to monitor where cases are occurring and whether there are larger widespread community outbreaks.
There is more testing available across the county and anyone experiencing Covid symptoms should self-isolate immediately and book a test.”
Thanet has two test sites, a drive in at Manston and a walk or drive through recently opened in the council-owned car park by Dreamland in Margate.
In his speech to the authority’s Full Council today, Cllr Roger Gough praised Kent residents for their actions so far, but stressed that the county has reached a critical tipping point and urged people to follow the rules to protect their loved ones and communities.
He said: “We all know how devastating restrictions and shutdowns are – for economies, for livelihoods, for physical and mental health.
“We cannot, must not, be complacent. But we still have the chance to avoid this.
“So, my message, and I hope that of this County Council, to the people we serve and represent, is let’s stick with it. We can do this. For the sake of businesses and livelihoods across the County; for our social, economic and psychological health; for the young people who have already through such difficult times and whose long-term futures can be blighted by unemployment – let’s keep following the advice, act thoughtfully and responsibly and not only do we keep ourselves and those around us safe, we do our utmost to protect jobs and opportunities across the County.”
For more information go to www.kent.gov.uk/protectkent.
Find a county council call for ‘Covid Champions’ https://kccmediahub.net/