Torbay Council is urging residents to exercise more caution as cases of COVID-19 here in the Bay reach their highest rate of the pandemic so far, while more freedoms are set to begin next week.
Torbay’s case rate currently stands at 387 per 100,000, compared to our previous high of 266 per 100,000 in January of this year. The virus is spreading most among people aged 18 to 25, many of whom are not yet vaccinated, and those under 40 who are partially vaccinated and still building their immunity, and predominantly between household and social contacts.
While incidence of severe illness remains low among young people, many of them and their contacts are having to self-isolate and stay away from work, which is creating a significant problem for local businesses. The council actively supports the urgent need for our businesses to recover from the past 16 months of restrictions and is concerned to see some businesses which have only just re-opened, temporarily close again as the virus spreads across the Bay at the fastest rate this year.
From 19 July, restrictions on social distancing, face coverings, and group sizes give way to guidance to keep thinking hands, face, space and fresh air, and to consider the risk of contact with those who may be unvaccinated or clinically vulnerable. With cases rising so quickly in the Bay, the council is urging people to re-think ‘freedom day’ and put the wellbeing of ourselves, family, friends, and colleagues first.
Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health at Torbay Council said: “Cases of COVID-19 have been steadily increasing in Torbay, which was to be expected as we re-opened but now our rates are mirroring those seen nationally, I regrettably have to ask our residents to keep exercising caution as we approach and move into step four of the government roadmap.
“Step four means we are all tasked with taking personal responsibility and assessing risks for ourselves, and I know so many of our residents will do so cautiously and responsibly. For the time being, I urge residents to keep meeting in small groups and outside wherever possible, and to stay working from home if you can.
“It is also vital for all our continued wellbeing that everyone gets both doses of the vaccine at the earliest opportunity, people get tested regularly and we all get a PCR test if symptoms develop. Other public health guidance to keep washing or sanitising our hands, get tested regularly and let the fresh air in to keep the air-borne virus out, all remain the same.”
Leader of Torbay Council, Councillor Steve Darling said: “Step four of the government roadmap is a pivotal moment for our residents and businesses in the Bay, particularly our hospitality sector, so we need to get it right. The impact of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is being felt across our business community, already struggling with a shortage of workers, and particularly the hospitality sector so badly affected throughout the pandemic.
“It is critical that we all take a responsible approach by reducing the risks to ourselves and others, and help businesses stay open during the busy summer season. If we all exercise caution, get our vaccinations and get tested to stop the virus spreading further, we can all start to enjoy our summer.”
Guidance from 19 July:
– Get tested regularly, everyone can get a free twice-weekly test
– Meet in well-ventilated areas, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open
– Wear a face covering in crowded or enclosed places and where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet
– Wash or sanitise your hands throughout the day
– Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, and stay home if unwell
– Think about the risks of close contact with others who may be vulnerable
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