Residents in Great Yarmouth are being urged to protect themselves and their community, as cases of coronavirus in the borough continue to rise.
For the period between 21 and 27 September, the seven-day incidence rates of the virus in Great Yarmouth were at 49 per 100,000 up from 25 per 100,000 a week before. While this figure remains below the national average, it is one of the highest in the region and Public Health Norfolk, Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council are urging residents to pull together and act now to prevent rates climbing further.
Cllr Carl Smith, Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “We have a really strong sense of community in Great Yarmouth. While the rate of infection is still below the national average, we are responding proactively to this rise in cases as the virus can spread quickly and we all need to act now and pull together to prevent the spread of this virus, to protect Great Yarmouth, our lives and livelihoods.
“The people of Great Yarmouth have been doing great so far but we need to keep it up and we all need to consistently follow the guidelines so a rise in cases in the borough is controlled. If we keep washing our hands, wearing face coverings where needed, giving each other space and self-isolating and getting tested if we have symptoms, we can protect our community and our economy and continue to safely enjoy all of the great things Great Yarmouth has to offer.”
The majority of cases in the Great Yarmouth area relate to working-age adults and, although some are linked to the outbreak at Bernard Matthews, there is concern about wider transmission within the local community.
Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health for Norfolk, said: “We are concerned that there is a trend of rising cases in the Great Yarmouth area and we need to work together to bring these rates back down.
“The rate of infection is still below the national average and we want to keep it that way. At the moment we are seeing the number of cases grow each day and we cannot link all of these cases back to particular outbreaks or clusters – that means that there may be transmission happening in the community, so we need people to extra careful in following the measures that are already in place.
“We need to keep washing our hands, keeping our distance from others, following the rule of six and covering our face when this is required. It is absolutely crucial to stay at home if you have symptoms and only leave to get a test – support is available if you cannot access food or medical supplies.
“Now is the time to act together to protect ourselves, protect others and protect Great Yarmouth.”
Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth District Council are working together to promote public health messages in the community. This includes the distribution of posters and information to businesses and venues in the area, as well as dropping leaflets through doors. A social media campaign, targeted at local postcodes, is also running to inform people of rising rates in the area. A local radio and press advertising campaign will also be running in the district.
Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said: “Over many months, the people of Great Yarmouth rose to the challenge of Covid-19, and through everyone coming together and by making changes to their lifestyles, helped to reduce COVID levels massively. Sadly, COVID has not been defeated, and the threat to public health remains very real.
“Covid-19 has not gone away and is continuing to grow across the country, and that is also true in Great Yarmouth and Norfolk. That’s why we can’t afford complacency, it is essential that everyone in Great Yarmouth continues to follow the rules so that we all can stay safe and we can keep this virus under control.”
Public health teams are continuing to analyse the data daily to look for any patterns or trends so that further action can be targeted as necessary.
Cllr Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council and Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “The people of Norfolk have been doing a brilliant job in preventing the spread of coronavirus and rates in the county remain low, compared with those nationally.
“However, we are seeing a rising number of cases in Great Yarmouth so it’s important that we take further steps to protect those living and working there. We want to make sure people have all of the support they need to prevent the spread of the virus in their communities and we are monitoring the data closely so that we can arm people with the information they need to protect themselves and protect their communities.”