Government has today announced that Cheshire East has been identified as a ‘Enhanced Resource Area’ to help combat the rapid rise of the Delta (Indian) variant across the borough.
This variant is more transmissible than previous variants and cases are rising in other areas of the north west, including Cheshire West, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, which have also been placed into this category, along with a growing list of areas across the country.
Designation as an Enhanced Resource Area is not a local lockdown or a return to a tiered system. It means the council can access a range of support and guidance to address rapidly rising infection rates. This can include driving vaccine uptake for eligible people, the possibility of requesting military aid, additional testing support – including schools testing, and other assistance and support.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council said: “We welcome any additional practical support in our fight against Covid in Cheshire East.
“This new designation from government recognises the prevalence of the Delta variant and the rapidly increasing rates in the borough and it very much reflects the measures we have been putting in place locally over the last few weeks as local data showed us that infections were rising.
“For example, we have worked with the Department of Health and Social Care and Sodexo to bring in additional testing capacity. We are working closely with schools around testing and other measures such as face coverings. And I, with the other Cheshire council leaders, have written to the Secretary of State for Health about vaccines.
“My key ask is for additional vaccination supply. Cheshire’s vaccination programme has been a great success so far and we stand ready to ramp up vaccinations which are currently constrained by the supply available to us.”
Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Craig Browne, said: “This announcement acknowledges the reality of the situation in Cheshire. I want to reassure our residents that if we all keep on doing the right things to protect our families, friends and local communities, we will get on top of this.
“This includes hands, face, space, fresh air - get vaccinated and if you do test positive or develop symptoms to immediately self-isolate and order a home PCR test kit. We know these simple measures are effective. It’s only by doing these things, working together, and supporting each other, that will we minimise any further long-term ill-effect on our local economy and communities who have already paid such a hefty price”.
Testing and vaccinations will – in combination with guidance such as washing hands, wearing a face covering, maintaining social distance, and meeting people from other households outdoors where possible – help control the spread of this variant.
Dr Matt Tyrer, director of public health at Cheshire East Council, said: “We have seen cases of the new Delta variant of coronavirus increase dramatically over the last couple of weeks in Cheshire East, in particular significant outbreaks related to hospitality and catering establishments, retail outlets and in our schools.
“Having seen the substantial increase in transmission in our Greater Manchester neighbours and increasingly across the north west, it was sadly only a matter of time before the spread was to be seen across Cheshire given our strong links with work, travel and friends and family.
“We know the importance of the vaccine programme, with all the current evidence suggesting the massively positive protective benefits of having both doses of the vaccine in helping prevent serious illness and hospitalisation of the new Delta variant.
“We will therefore be asking for significant increases in the vaccine supply for our communities and much-improved access to vaccination sites and pop-up clinics across our borough, alongside greater levels of testing and self-isolation support.”
Anyone aged 25 and over (and aged 23 and 24 from Tuesday 15 June) is invited to book their Covid-19 vaccine. Visit: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine
There are significant outbreaks in the Macclesfield and Crewe/Nantwich areas and all residents are being asked to get a Covid-19 test called a PCR test, - especially those in customer facing roles and those in the 18-39 age group, whether they have symptoms or not or have been vaccinated.
To book a test visit: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and select 'My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms' or call 119.
In addition, all residents in the borough are asked to take no-symptoms COVID-19 tests, called Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) twice a week.
For full information on where to get tested or pick up home testing kits visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/covid-testing