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We can all do our bit this New Year to curb Covid and ease pressures on the NHS

The statement below is from the Norfolk Resilience Forum (NRF)

We can all do our bit this New Year to curb Covid and ease pressures on the NHS, Norfolk’s leaders said today, in the face of rising case numbers.

We can do this! is the message being sent to communities across Norfolk on the last day of 2020 as residents are reminded that staying at home over the New Year bank holiday weekend and beyond is now more important than ever to support local NHS services facing significant challenges.

With Covid-19 spreading fast and cases at record levels both in Norfolk and across the country, the Norfolk Resilience Forum (NRF) is urging residents to continue playing their part in following the Tier 4 rules in order to ease the pressure on local health services.

The NRF, which is the multi-agency group comprising Norfolk’s local authorities, police, health and supporting agencies, is encouraging everyone to see in the New Year safely at home with their own household or support bubble and wherever possible don’t travel outside your local area.

The latest figures show that there are 430 people being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals across Norfolk and Waveney compared to 362 at the same point the previous week. The seven-day incidence of the virus in Norfolk for the week up to Christmas Day was 251 per 100,000 up from 200 the previous week.

Cllr Andrew Proctor, Chair of the Norfolk Covid-19 Engagement Board and Leader of Norfolk County Council said: “I speak for myself and all the other Norfolk leaders on the Engagement Board in saying there is no doubt that 2020 has been a really difficult year but we can look to 2021 with hope.

“With the announcement of a second vaccine being approved and vaccination programmes already underway in Norfolk, there is much to be optimistic about.

“But we must not be complacent, we are not out of the woods yet.

“I hope the people of Norfolk will be able to look back over the last year with pride at how they have coped and come together to help others. So many individuals, organisations and businesses have made sacrifices and faced many challenges over a prolonged period of time. Let’s not waste what we have done together.

“We have all had to find ways of celebrating differently to make sure we stay safe and play our part in protecting ourselves, protecting others and protecting Norfolk.

“I would urge everyone simply not to travel. It’s more important than ever to keep up the good work and see in the New Year with celebrations at home with your own household or support bubble. Looking forward to 2021 is not a time we can afford to party or go to other gatherings.”

Norfolk Constabulary’s Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Julie Wvendth said: “Given the rise in infections and continued stress this puts on the NHS system, we would urge people to abide by the Tier 4 restrictions. If we work together to protect ourselves and each other we can put ourselves in the best place to tackle it. This includes staying local and only going out for essential journeys.

“Where breaches are reported to the police, we will consider the information provided to us and attend where necessary. As we have said before, we will continue to follow the four Es approach and will engage, educate and explain the regulations to people. However, blatant disregard for the regulations will not be tolerated and when required, we will enforce the legislation.

“It is vitally important that over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend, people avoid travelling, except locally and where essential, and do not attend gatherings, including UMEs and raves. These events are not only illegal but carry a significant risk of transmitting the virus. We would urge people to think twice before attending such events and will, where appropriate, take action to disrupt and shut them down.”

Norfolk’s Director of Public Health, Dr Louise Smith said: “With the new vaccines there is hope on the horizon.

“But infection rates are at unprecedented levels in Norfolk, as they are across the country.

“There is a growing demand in our three acute hospitals and across the county’s social care settings.

“The increasing number of cases is across all ages and we know around one in three people who have Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms, but can still pass it on.

“So, the steps we take now are critical.

“We must continue to play our part and do everything we can to keep ourselves and our friends and family as safe and well as possible to reduce the spread of the virus and support our local NHS services.”

The key advice remains ‘hands, face, space’ – washing your hands regularly, covering your face in enclosed spaces and social distancing from anyone you do not live with or who isn’t in your support bubble is vital.

If you have any of the coronavirus symptoms you must self-isolate straightway and get a test. You must continue to isolate if you test positive or are told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, a practicing GP at Staithe Surgery in Stalham and Clinical Chair for NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We have seen an amazing effort from all those involved in rolling out the vaccine - both our NHS staff and community volunteers. But please be patient and wait until you are contacted to come for your vaccination – do not phone or turn up at your GP practice or local hospital as they can only provide the vaccination by appointment.

“Coronavirus infection rates and hospital admissions are now higher than they were in the first wave. We are asking everyone to follow the local Tier 4 guidance and stay well by continuing to wash our hands, cover our faces, and keep two metres apart. This is crucial to avoid more hospital admissions and losing more lives to this virus.

“If you have an urgent medical need but are unsure what to do, please call 111 first. They can signpost you to the most appropriate service and can even make an appointment for you if you need to be seen urgently.”

Click on these links to find out how best to treat Covid-19 symptoms at home and what to do if symptoms worsen:

·       How to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at home - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

·       What to do if coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms get worse - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

For tips on how to stay well click here: How to stay well in winter - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

District statistics

Rates per 100,000 for the week to Christmas Day (previous week in brackets):

  • Breckland: 231 (167)
  • Broadland: 284 (221)
  • Great Yarmouth: 213 (198)
  • King’s Lynn and Norfolk: 258 (225)
  • North Norfolk: 214 (153)
  • Norwich: 275 (256)
  • South Norfolk: 261 (168)

Outbreaks

  • Care providers: 67
  • Businesses: 38
  • Education: 42

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