Cheshire West and Chester moves into new phase of living with COVID-19

13 April 2022

People who live and work in Cheshire West and Chester are asked to continue looking after each other as England moves into a new phase of living with COVID-19.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is still strongly advising residents to stick with public health advice as free COVID-19 testing for most people comes to an end.

This includes having a full course of COVID-19 vaccines, staying at home if you feel unwell or test positive for the virus, wearing face coverings in crowded indoor settings, socialising outside or in well-ventilated areas and washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water regularly throughout the day.

The Council is also appealing to residents to respect others who may be more concerned about the impact of Coronavirus after the end of testing for the general public in England on 31 March.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:

“The impact of COVID-19 on all of us in the past two years cannot be overstated, with hundreds of lives lost in our borough alone.

“People will understandably feel nervous without the safety net that the testing system provided, especially as we know that the virus has not gone away and we are seeing some of our highest rates again in Cheshire West and Chester.

“However, the vaccine has transformed the way we are able to live with COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to suffer serious symptoms or be admitted to hospital.

“This means that we are able to move into a new phase of our response, but it’s still really important to do everything else that is in our power to look after each other and reduce the impact of this virus even further.”

There are 250 patients with COVID-19 being treated in local hospitals, an increase from 188 a week earlier.

One of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s roles during the pandemic has been to provide an Outbreak Management Hub offering expertise to care homes and adult social care settings, businesses, organisations, and education settings, alongside the Infection Prevention and Control Team from the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

This Hub has been made a permanent part of the Council structure within a new Public Protection Service, alongside environmental health, including food safety, health and safety and other regulatory services.

Cllr Gittins said:

“It’s great to integrate outbreak management within our existing regulatory services.

“Teams who were used to assessing food safety, managing food poisoning outbreaks and advising on health and safety, were able to put their skills and contact tracing experience to good use and they quickly became expert in COVID-19 Regulations and guidance. 

“Working alongside Public Health colleagues during the past two years, they gained additional knowledge and experience in managing infectious disease outbreaks.  Bringing these areas together, while maintaining a strong link into our Public Health team, will be of enormous benefit to businesses and residents.

“We want to remind businesses in the borough that the Hub is still there to support you if you are experiencing an outbreak.” 

Details on how to access support can be found on the business support pages of the Council’s website: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at the Council, said:

“We still take COVID-19 very seriously and will be monitoring the situation in the borough, continuing to provide advice to businesses and organisations experiencing outbreaks.

“As individuals we can also continue to make a very real difference. Now is not the time to give up on those measures that we’ve all become so used to – washing our hands, meeting outside or with windows open inside, wearing face coverings, staying at home if we feel unwell and, most important at all, getting vaccinated.

“It’s never too late to get your COVID-19 vaccination, whether you need your first, second or booster dose, just drop into a local clinic as soon as you can.”

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and a list of drop-in clinics, which is updated weekly, visit: www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk and click on ‘COVID-19 vaccination programme – what you need to know’.

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