Following a sharp spike in cases of COVID-19 in South Tyneside, residents and businesses are being urged to closely follow public health guidance to avoid the need for further restrictions being imposed.
Members of the COVID-19 Leadership Board were told today that test data showing an increase of 62 cases in the last seven days, equated to 41 cases per 100,000 people. The majority of cases examined relate to household transmission, with a number of those linked to people who have visited the hospitality industry.
To date, this has not led to a rise in hospital admissions or an increase in cases in care homes, the meeting was told.
Tom Hall, Director for Public Health, said: "The rise in the number of cases is significant enough to warrant us taking proactive action to avoid a local lockdown. We are monitoring this situation closely and proactively working with local businesses and the public to reinforce the measures that need to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
"It is vitally important that everyone does their bit. We are at a tipping point right now. Nobody wants to be in a situation where they can't see their friends and family but if people don't follow the guidance then we may be forced to implement more serious measures. Both the Council and the Police will not hesitate to take action against those found to be in breach of the guidance."
In a bid to protect the most vulnerable, care homes have been asked to suspend visits to their residents.
The Council is also working closely with pubs and restaurants to offer advice and guidance to ensure they are Covid-secure and there will be spot checks over the weekend. Residents who believe any hospitality businesses are not adhering to the rules are encouraged to speak to the venue's manager to share their concerns.
Everyone is encouraged to continue to follow the guidance around hand-washing, socially distancing and to only socialise with no more than two households 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.
All businesses should familiarise themselves with the government guidance that applies to their industry and it is important that every business plays its part. Further information can be found on the Government website at www.gov.uk
The Council will continue to closely monitor the number of cases and the Leadership Board will meet again next week.