Public Health chiefs and council leaders issued renewed pleas as Northamptonshire continues to teeter on the brink of a ban on households mixing indoors following another jump in new Covid-19 cases.
Officials say they will not seek to have the alert level raised in the county but admit the decision may not be in their hands as Department of Health and Joint Biosecurity Centre staff continue to study daily data.
Friday's press briefing revealed 785 new cases in the week to October 18. But that figure has now topped 1,000 according to information released on Sunday on the Government's coronavirus dashboard
Positive tests have more than QUADRUPLED in the county in the last month and infection rates in both Northampton and Wellingborough are fast approaching 200 per week per 100,000 people — on a par with those which saw Midlands neighbours Coventry elevated into Tier Two of the Government's National Covid Alert system last week.
All seven districts and boroughs in Northamptonshire now have an infection rate over 100 per 100,000 people and a rise in the weekly number of positive tests among the over 60s — from 130 to 217 in seven days to October 18 — is ringing alarm bells.
Public Health Director Lucy Wightman wrote to parents ahead of the half-term school holiday reminding them that reducing contact with others is the best way to reduce transmission of the virus and reduce the risk of likely increase in hospital admissions and pressure on the NHS as winter approaches.
Mrs Wightman's letter said: "I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to avoid tighter restrictions. If we use half-term as a natural 'circuit breaker', we might be able to avoid progressing to level two or three.
"I’m therefore asking you not to have sleepovers over half term to protect your children, their friends and your parents, as well as yourselves, from Covid-19.
"Local evidence shows that transmission is within and between households and so, if we don’t mix, we don’t spread.
"I’m asking you to take action and be firm this half-term, please meet outside and don’t mix households. Just because we can currently can doesn’t mean we should."
Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms — a high temperature, continuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste — should self-isolate and book a test.
If you test positive, you must self-isolate for ten days – with your household isolating for 14 days. Do not go to your workplace or to the shops. Either work from home or report sick.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be helped by the test and trace service to identify the people they’ve recently been in contact with so they can be
alerted and also self-isolate if required. Tests can be booked on the Test and Trace app, online at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.