Cornwall is seeing a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Up until recently, we’ve seen a relatively low number of cases here in Cornwall, but as with other regions across the country, our case rate is now doubling every few days.
Cases here are especially prevalent among those aged 16-29 who work in the hospitality industry. This is partly due to the new variant being far more transmissible. Some hospitality businesses have taken the decision to close for operational reasons due to staff needing to self-isolate.
Last night’s announcement by the government of a delay in the next stage of the roadmap confirms that caution is still needed, and that COVID-19 still poses a serious threat to our communities.
Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “We’re asking anyone working in the hospitality industry to help themselves stay safe and protect their work colleagues by testing twice weekly using rapid lateral flow tests.
“While our case rate is still below the national average it has risen sharply. Now is the time to act to bring the rate back down. I would urge everyone to make twice-weekly testing part of their routine so we can identify cases even when people have no symptoms. Rapid Lateral Flow Tests are free of charge and can be picked up from your local pharmacy or ordered online”
Here’s how you can help if you work in the hospitality industry:
- Ask your employer about supplying LFT tests to all staff OR pick up rapid Lateral Flow Tests from your pharmacy, or nearest collection point
- Self-isolate if you are identified as a close contact by your employer or by Test and Trace
- Get the vaccine when you’re eligible – and please get both doses so you are fully protected
Businesses can help their staff and customers stay safe and keep their doors open by:
Making sure customers and visitors are using the QR codes, or they have customers contact details, to speed up test and trace.
Reinforcing the Hands - Face – Space messaging and making sure any indoor areas are sufficiently ventilated.
Making sure face coverings are worn by staff and customers where required by the guidance on the gov.uk website.
Malcolm Bell Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall said: “We all must redouble our efforts to help all of us to get back to a more normal life as soon as possible and by all of us in hospitality and tourism. Ensuring testing takes place regularly and abiding by the guidelines is the fastest and most effective way of achieving that goal
Professor Mike Wade, Deputy Regional Director and NHS Regional Director of Public Health for Public Health England South West added:
“Cases of Covid-19 and the Delta variant are rising across the South West and we are continuously monitoring its spread and severity to ensure we take rapid public health action.
“We encourage everyone without symptoms to order rapid (lateral flow) tests through gov.uk and take twice weekly, and report their results online. Testing and isolating limits spread, and for those who are positive on the rapid lateral flow test who then take the confirmatory PCR test, we can monitor how the variant behaves in the community which is vital to taking effective and proportionate action moving forward. Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.
“The way to limit the spread of all variants is the same: keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, cover your nose and mouth when inside, keep buildings well ventilated and meet people from other households outside. Please take up the offer of the vaccine when invited.
“The vaccines are the most important tool we have against COVID-19. Thousands of lives have already been saved because of them.
“It is absolutely vital to get both doses as soon as they are offered to you, to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants. Evidence shows that vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from Delta variant.”