Cheshire East Council is asking residents to keep staying safe as rules on self-isolation change and with autumn on the horizon.
The public need to continue to remain cautious for the foreseeable future, especially during the autumn and winter months when cold weather, flu and other seasonal respiratory diseases can spread rapidly.
Positive Covid-19 cases have increased slightly, and currently there are around 1,000 new cases a week in the borough compared to a few months ago when there were just 60 new cases in a week.
From today (Monday 16 August), double jabbed individuals and under 18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19.
Young people and double vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts will continue to be advised to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern. Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status.
Not only does having both doses of the vaccine significantly reduce the risk, it allows access to this exemption to self-isolation, whilst also reducing the risk of severe illness and providing the fullest protection possible for people across the borough.
The NHS COVID-19 app will also be updated this month in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.
Director of public health in Cheshire East, Dr Matt Tyrer, said: ‘Over the last few weeks we have seen positive cases fall right across the north west and in England as a whole. However, nationally we have seen that decline slow down and possibly flatten out.
‘With children and young people shortly returning to education settings next month and more people going back in to work, it’s important to keep following Cheshire East Council’s Covid-19 campaign ‘It’s in our hands’ messaging to remain vigilant, get your vaccinations when they are offered to you, get tested regularly, report your test results and to keep following the appropriate guidance.
‘Although young people aged 16 and 17 are now being offered the Covid-19 vaccination and there is the prospect of a Covid-19 booster jab in the early autumn, we all need to do what we can to stay as fit and healthy as we can and to maintain our wellbeing in readiness for the flu season and colder winter months’.
Working with partners in the NHS, the council is also asking people to get the flu vaccine this year if they are advised to. Flu will often get better on its own, but it can make some people seriously ill. The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine and it's offered free every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.
Dr Tyrer continues: ‘The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. What we all do now will have a big impact on our autumn/winter in Cheshire East.
‘By staying safe, remaining vigilant, keeping warm and eating well, we hope this will make a significant difference to protecting ourselves and those we care for in the coming months ahead’.
Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:
- people aged 65 and older
- babies and children under the age of 5
- people on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
- people who have a long-term health condition
- people with a disability
- pregnant women
- people who have a mental health condition
If you are 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups, it's important to get medical help as soon as you feel unwell.
You can get help and advice from:
- a pharmacy – pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
- your GP – you may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in for an appointment if they think you need to
- NHS 111 – go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do
The sooner you get advice, the sooner you are likely to get better.
There is more information on self-isolation on the NHS website at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/how-long-to-self-isolate/
For information on staying warm, staying well and staying safe in the winter months, go to the council’s winter wellbeing website pages at: https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell/health-matters/keeping-well/winter-wellbeing/winter-wellbeing.aspx
For the latest information and advice on Covid-19 testing, vaccinations and self-isolation support, go to the council’s webpage at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/covid19