Last Chance to Avoid Local Lockdown
South Tyneside has been added to Public Health England's watchlist as an area of concern following a huge spike in the number of coronavirus in recent days.
This means that while further lockdown restrictions are not needed at this stage, they could be imminent if infection rates continue to rise.
The latest test data shows an increase of 78 cases in the last seven days which equates to 50 cases per 100,000 people.
A number of steps have already been taken to curb the spread of the virus. These include asking care homes to suspend visits to residents to protect the most vulnerable while Council staff and the police are stepping up spot checks at pubs and restaurants. Enhanced contact tracing is also being carried out to try to identify any connections between cases and hot spot areas within the Borough.
Director of Public Health Tom Hall said: "We are working with our partners to tackle this spike in cases.
"However now is the time for every person and business in the Borough to take heed of the warnings and follow the simple measures to avoid more drastic restrictions. Nobody wants to see further restrictions but if the case numbers are not brought under control then additional measures will be considered.
"Both the Council and the Police will not hesitate to take action against anyone in breach of the guidance."
Everyone is encouraged to do their bit continue to follow the guidance around hand-washing, socially distancing and to only socialise with one other household indoors and up to six people outdoors. It is also important that people follow the advice from NHS Test and Trace if they are notified as a close contact of someone confirmed as having the virus and self-isolate for 14 days. People should only get a test if they are displaying symptoms of COVID -19.
Most of those who have tested positive in the last two weeks have predominantly been younger adults.
An "area of concern" is the lowest level on the PHE watchlist and helps guide the national response to the pandemic.