The government could keep regional restrictions in place if Covid rates rise, warn Lancs bosses.
Speaking at a Lancashire Resilence Forum press conference, ahead of tomorrow’s one year anniversary of the first lockdown, the county council CEO told reporters that rising coronavirus rates could see Lancashire remain under stricter Covid-19 restrictions than the rest of the country.
Angie Ridgwell, who also chairs the forum, was speaking in response to questions about rising Covid rates in some parts of Lancashire.
Infection rates across the county are now, on the whole, showing a downward trend with week-by-week cases falling in every corner of Lancashire.
This includes in troublesome areas including Preston and Blackburn with Darwen, where the transmission of Covid has been wider spread than most areas in the country.
But in Rossendale, the rate has risen a staggering 236% in the most recent week of testing to March 15.
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In England, only Richmondshire has seen cases increase at a quicker rate.
Across Rossendale, 78 people caught the virus over the seven days to March 15.
This was up massively in comparison to the week of testing to March 8, where 33 people caught the virus.
Ms Ridgewell implored residents to continue adhering to social distancing rules, even when restrictions begin to ease.
She said: “The government has set out a national roadmap and in all of our conversations with the government, they have reiterated that it is their desire to continue to operate, as we go forward, on a national level.
“We don’t necessarily see that being an occurrence but, having recognised that, the government are not categorically ruling out moving to regional or other changes.
“That is not their preferred approach but, at this stage, it’s not been completely ruled out.
“I would like to reiterate to everyone: as we ease the roadmap it is not a license for everybody to go out hugging and being close to their friends.
“Even when we are able to socialise, we have to socialise at a distance.”
Covid-19 levels in East Lancashire began to drop as the new coronavirus vaccines were rolled out across the county at the turn of the year.
Areas of Darwen, Blackburn and Hyndburn had some of the worst rates of the disease during 2020 with strict regional restrictions put in place.
Speaking at the press conference, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council’s Director of Public Health, stated that rates would rise again.
“Be in no doubt, the rates are going to rise again,” said the health leader.
“But we hope that they won’t rise so high that it puts our NHS at risk and all our critical services at risk thanks to the work that the vaccine is doing.
“Although 50 per cent of adults have been vaccinated, there is a large chunk of the population that has not been vaccinated.
“Until we are really in the clear, we can’t afford to take our foot of the pedal.”
Dr Sakthi added: “The vaccine is almost a silver or a magic bullet to prevent transmission as well as severe disease and death.”
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