Statement from the Director of Public Health

Stockport has the ninth-highest rates of any of the Local Authorities in England and second highest in Greater Manchester

Stockport has the ninth-highest rates of any of the Local Authorities in England and second highest in Greater Manchester. Rates are currently at * 572.2 per 100,000, or 239.9 per day. Rates are rising again in our more vulnerable over 60s population, which is beginning to result in increased hospital admissions. You can see the latest published data online.

Over the last year and a half, we have all done our bit to keep each other safe, but Covid’s still here and the virus remains in circulation. Numbers catching coronavirus remains much higher than when lockdown measures were first introduced. It still presents significant wide-ranging impacts on and risks to our residents, borough, local economy and country. Many are still dealing with difficulties caused by the virus, even though the vaccine has weakened the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

Following lifting of restrictions, more people are mixing at work, meeting friends and in education settings etc. Lifting these rules and changes in people’s behaviours has the potential to increase the impact and risks of Covid further, especially heading into winter with the added chance of picking up the usual seasonal illnesses.

So, it is still important to take actions to protect ourselves and those around us by readopting or maintaining behaviours to keep cases of Covid down and help the community stay safe. Every action you take can help keep us all safer.

Covid-19 spreads through the air by droplets and aerosols exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. To reduce risks, you should wear face coverings in enclosed or crowded areas or where you are likely to be in contact with people you don’t usually meet like public transport, shops and walking around venues. Anyone using the Metrolink, bus stations or transport interchanges in Greater Manchester must still wear a face covering unless exempt.

Despite the autumn weather, keep enclosed spaces ventilated and let fresh air in by keeping windows open as much as you can. The more fresh air you let into your home or other enclosed spaces by uncovering vents and opening doors and windows, the less likely a person is to inhale infectious particles. I know this won’t be easy in the colder months when we’re struggling to keep our homes warm, but opening windows for just 10 minutes, or a small amount of time continuously where you can, makes a significant difference. This is particularly important before, during and after meeting people you do not live with indoors.

Keep socially distanced from other people when you are able. You should also cover your mouth and nose with an elbow or tissue/handkerchief when coughing or sneezing. Wash and sanitise hands regularly; this is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including Covid-19.

The virus will seek out pools of susceptible population, especially those not yet vaccinated. Fifty-five people with Covid are currently in Stepping Hill Hospital with the majority under 55 unvaccinated.

So, with 67% of all exposures linked to schools and rates are currently at 1859.7 per 100,000 in our 10-19 cohort, three times the next highest age group for case rates, everyone aged 12 or above should make sure they’re fully jabbed. You’ll be looking after yourself, your loved ones, friends, colleagues and community by getting two doses (if over 18) of the Covid-19 vaccine given eight weeks apart - it provides the best protection from getting coronavirus, passing it to others and becoming seriously ill. You still need the vaccine to boost your protection, even if you’ve previously had COVID. To book visit nhs.uk/covidvaccine, call 119, walk-in to Trinity Church, Bramhall Lane, SK3 8TP, every Sunday from 2pm to 4pm or sign the consent form sent out by your child’s school.

Boosters are also being given to those aged 50 and over, frontline health and social care workers, and people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts you at high risk from COVID-19, if they have been contacted by their GP about having a booster jab if it has been at least six months after your second.

We are doing really well with our vaccination programme, so even though rates are rising, it is helping to keep down hospitalisations and deaths from the virus. So far, 85.01% of all aged 16+ have now received their first dose of the vaccine, and 80.3% of those aged 16+ have received both doses.

Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not have any symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Now we are mixing more, get into the habit of rapid testing twice a week to increase the chances of detecting coronavirus. This includes secondary age children. If you’re feeling unwell with a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell, stay at home and take a PCR test, which are available to book online. It’s the right thing to do. If you are a contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, take a PCR test rather than a lateral flow test, even if you’ve no symptoms. You may no longer need to self-isolate (if you’re doubly vaccinated plus two weeks, or under 18 and 6 months, or have another exemption). Tests are free and available online, to pick up at your local pharmacy or library or from the testing site at Fred Perry House.

If you test positive you must self-isolate for 10 days. Information on support during self-isolation can be found here. You can also phone our Coronavirus helpline on 0161 217 6046 or visit our website for information on where to find help if you're a vulnerable person.

*This is the latest figure for Stockport validated on 14.10.21.