Everyone across the district urged to stay alert to the threat of COVID-19

16/07/2020, PR-9484

Residents are being urged to protect themselves and others by staying alert to COVID-19, and to follow safety guidelines to reduce the risk of infection.

Over the past few weeks, the Wakefield district has seen an increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. Recent outbreaks in workplaces have also shown that the majority of those testing positive displayed no symptoms (were asymptomatic).

Wakefield’s Director of Public Health, Anna Hartley, said: “Even though more things are starting to return to normal, the threat of COVID-19 remains a very real threat to our health and the health of our family, friends and colleagues.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation in Wakefield, and the wider region, from the start and the recent release of postcode data has helped us to understand the spread of the virus in the district. There is a growing concern that the number of people testing positive for the virus will continue to rise, and that the risk of more localised outbreaks remains - unless people take more action to reduce the spread of infection.  

“Please do not underestimate the positive impact you can make by following the key safety guidelines.

“I am calling on all residents to follow five simple rules to help prevent the introduction of restrictions being necessary:

  • Wear a face covering in any enclosed public space
  • If you have underlying health issues or are aged 70+, avoid areas where you can’t adhere to 2m social distancing
  • Avoid any hugging or close contact with anyone outside your household
  • Don’t car share with anyone outside of your household
  • Maintain regular handwashing.”

Further to the release of Government data, showing an increase in the number of cases of Covid-19, it is expected that the Wakefield district will be identified as an ‘area of concern’.

Anna Hartley explained: “We have effective monitoring in place to map relevant data and spot trends, which acts as our early warning system. The increase in case numbers has resulted from two large workplace outbreaks, where workforce testing identified large numbers of asymptomatic cases.

“It is this early warning system that has identified the need for everyone to increase their efforts to tackle the spread of the virus, especially in areas of our lives where social distancing is not possible.”

“Now is absolutely not the time to be complacent. We must all work together to take action and follow the simple safety advice to protect ourselves and each other.”

Working with partners, Wakefield Council has been actively supporting the businesses and communities affected by the outbreaks to limit any spread.

Anna Hartley said: “We are stepping up our proactive approach and exploring making community testing available in areas of higher concern for people who don’t have symptoms.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners and local communities to try and ensure everyone knows the symptoms and how to access testing, as well as making sure the five simple preventative measures are clear to everyone.

“Anyone displaying coronavirus symptoms is urged to get a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.”

ENDS