Hull still has the country’s highest number of Coronavirus cases, with a rate of 159 per 100,000 of the population. The rate in England is 58.7 cases per 100,000, putting the number of people in Hull with the virus at 171 per cent above the national average.
Julia Weldon, Director of Public Health at Hull City Council, urged people not to feel defeated by the current picture and said every person in the city has the power to make things better.
“The rate has been the country’s highest since Friday and it’s not where we want to be. But we have driven it down before and we can do it again. We mustn’t forget that in the summer we worked together and got rates really, really low. To the point that we were at the other end of the table, with some of the fewest cases in the country.
“There is something for all of us to do. We know one of the reasons our rates are stubborn is that we have very high levels of manufacturing businesses, where the work cannot be done at home. Employers have a really key role here in supporting their staff to work safety. It’s about having hygiene and social distancing measures in place and taking part in the free routine testing programme we now offer. It is crucial to make sure people are able to take time off to isolate when they need to.
“We are working closely with our local businesses to help them to make workplaces as safe as possible and to address the barriers to isolating that people face.
“We’re also already working towards the next stage in the government roadmap out of lockdown and making sure that the reopening of the city centre will be as safe as it can be for everyone.
“Our public protection teams are carrying out checks on supermarkets and now all other sectors to ensure employees are safe at work and we continue to help businesses and individuals affected by closure to access financial support.
“Our individual decisions and actions are still critical. We are still in lockdown and we need to behave like we are. Think about anything extra you could do to reduce the spread of the virus, whether it’s going to the shop less, or reminding yourself exactly what the rules are. We still cannot go inside each other’s homes, or even gardens.
“The vaccine is a huge step forward but it is really important to understand the vaccine does not prevent you catching or spreading the virus. It is extremely effective at protecting you from becoming seriously ill, which is exactly what it was designed to do. But it does not mean we can drop our vigilance. Masks, keeping a distance, hand hygiene and isolating and getting a test if we experience Coronavirus symptoms are going to be with us for a very long time.
“This is not about blaming people in Hull. I know how hard everyone has worked, all the sacrifices made, I have seen it throughout lockdown. And while our rates are not coming down as we want, we have still made huge progress from the peak in November.
“Everything we have done must not be in vain. We cannot waste our hard work”.
Book or order tests
Businesses can apply for free routine testing here: http://www.hull.gov.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-business-advice-and-support/lateral-flow-testing-businesses
Symptoms of Coronavirus are a temperature, a cough that doesn’t stop or food and drink tasting or smelling strange or of nothing at all. If you have these symptoms, immediately isolate with your household and book tests for everyone with one or more symptom: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. Everyone in Hull can have a free test as many times as needed. There are many walk-through and drive-through test centres around the city.
A household, childcare bubble or support bubble of someone attending primary or secondary school, nursery or college can also get free, routine tests. This includes pupils and workers. These are twice-weekly and for people who do not have symptoms. They are intended to stop people who do not know they are infected spreading the virus. One in three people does not have any symptoms but can still give the virus to others. Order tests here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.
Apply for a £500 payment if you have been asked to isolate: http://www.hull.gov.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-community-advice-and-support/test-and-trace-support-payment