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Article date - 07 July 2021
While an official announcement about whether restrictions will be eased on July 19th will be made on Monday, it is still at this time vital that people follow the guidance in mask wearing, keeping your distance, washing hands and where possible, socially distancing from people you don’t live with. This is all the more important with Covid-19 rates continuing to rise rapidly in the borough with the borough hitting a rate of 399 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to July 3.
Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: “I know many will welcome the easing of restrictions, and I certainly can’t wait to get back to a more ‘normal’ way of life – visiting friends and family without worrying about numbers, going to Saints, attending concerts and so on. After more than a year where the vast, overwhelming majority of St Helens residents have done the right thing, I know it will be a huge relief.
“But I know for some people the potential lifting of restrictions has also caused concern, especially the decision to remove the guidance around masks on public transport or in crowded indoor spaces.
“For the sake of those yet to be eligible for the vaccine or those who have had it but are vulnerable or immunosuppressed, I think the caring, considerate thing to do would be to still wear one when you can’t socially distance – at least while cases are continuing to increase so rapidly.”
St Helens Borough Council is currently working through the announcements and what it will mean for services moving forward and will be looking at the full guidance when it is announced next Monday, July 12.
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, added: “The most important thing that we can all do now is make sure that if eligible you get both vaccinations as soon as possible. Everyone who is eligible for a vaccine should now get their second dose eight weeks after their first. You can either make an appointment or just turn up as The Totally Wicked Stadium operates a drop in session every day for first and second doses from 8am to 12:30pm then 1:30pm to 7pm and offers all three vaccines for first and second doses. The vaccination bus will also continue to target areas where vaccine uptake is lower and offers both first and second doses to anyone needing AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
“Another key for us is to make sure we are regularly testing with symptom free testing twice a week as this is really important to prevent outbreaks. Our rates continue to rise rapidly and presently our figures are similar to what they were in late January and show no signs of slowing yet. We know that Covid-19 is being transmitted across the community, most cases are the Delta variant which we know is much easier to catch than previous types of Covid-19, which is fuelling the rapid rise. Regular testing is one of the ways we can catch cases early or those without symptoms to stop them spreading it unknowingly to others who may be vulnerable.
”It is also vital that if you have any symptoms like a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature or a loss of sense of taste or smell, you isolate and book a PCR test immediately. This will still be the guidance even after other restrictions are removed so please do isolate and call 119 or visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus to book a test.”
To find out how to get a symptom free test kit visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested