Statement from the Director of Public Health

It has now been confirmed by the government that the ending of restrictions on Step 4 of the easement roadmap will take place from Monday, 19 July

It has now been confirmed by the government that the ending of restrictions on Step 4 of the easement roadmap will take place from Monday, 19 July.

This means that most legal restrictions to control Covid-19 will be lifted, so you will no longer be required to stay two metres apart from people you do not live with, there will also be no limits on the number of people you can meet and the last businesses and events that were closed or subject to restrictions will now fully open. For further information click here.

However, Coronavirus rates are still extremely high and rising, with cases now at their highest ever, and even exceeding the highs seen last November. Hospitalisations have increased and we have sadly seen six deaths in the borough in two weeks.

Rates in Stockport are currently at 485.6* cases per 100,000 and 204 new cases each day, this is the highest our rates have ever been throughout the pandemic. Rates are especially high in the 10-17 and 18-29 age groups and also in children aged 0-9. Thanks to the vaccine the link between rising cases and hospitalisations and death has been weakened. Fewer people will need hospital care, and fewer people will die as a result of the level of cases that we are now seeing. This is great news, but we must remember that the link has not been broken entirely and more cases put continued pressure on the NHS and will sadly lead to more deaths. The latest published data can be found here.

The pandemic is far from over: Covid still poses a risk so please consider the risk to yourself and others and think about taking personal responsibility for others as we come out of lockdown restrictions. Minimise risk by acting carefully and being cautious by carrying on with everyday infection control precautions to curb the spread. Small actions from many people will have a large cumulative effect and each time we do decide to continue with these measures it will help stem the transmission of the virus.

The most important thing now is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as
the vaccination significantly reduces the chance of Covid leading to symptomatic infection (halves chances with one dose and is 70-80% effective at preventing it with two doses), hospitalisation or death.

The vaccination programme continues, with 83.5% of Stockport’s adult population having received their first dose and 65.6% both doses. We urgently need to reach those people who have not yet had their first dose, or who are now overdue (over 8 weeks) their second. Please come for your vaccination as soon as possible, everyone over 18 is eligible - as are 16 and 17 year olds who have an underlying health condition (you will have been contacted by your GP if this applies to you).

You can take up the offer by attending a pop up clinic (see timetable below or check our social media for details of dates, times and venues) or call 119 or book online here. If you don’t get a suitable appointment online straight away, keep trying - new slots are being added all the time. Also, get a second vaccination as this will ensure maximum protection. If you need any help with answering vaccination questions, we’ve prepared a useful FAQ with NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group which will give the information you need here.

News - Vaccination Pop-Ups Schedule

As well as getting vaccinated, consider still limiting close contacts with those you do not usually live with and increase the number, proximity and duration of any social contact gradually. Meet outdoors where possible and ventilate enclosed areas by opening windows regularly to let fresh air circulate into homes or other enclosed spaces. While you may no longer be required to wear face coverings by law, guidance is for people to carry on wearing them in crowded areas such as buses. You will still have to wear face coverings on the Metrolink.

Also continue to cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow; disposing of used tissues immediately and clean frequently touched surfaces regularly. These are sensible everyday infection control measures and will help curb the transmission of other common viruses such as cold and flu, which may spike in the winter season as we have built up little natural immunity in the past 15 months.

If we continue to act with caution and keep up with some of the behaviours outlined above, we can contribute to reducing the likelihood of seeing larger numbers of hospitalisations that could not only overwhelm the NHS but also ultimately lead to more deaths.

Further information on reducing transmission can be found here.

After 19 July, please continue to carry out regular lateral flow testing. Free home testing kits can be picked up from pharmacies, libraries, Fred Perry House Test Centre, and the car park on Chadwick Street in Marple. Find your nearest test centre or collection point here. While the school year is almost over, as cases are high among secondary pupils, please continue to regularly test in the final few days of term. Follow Test and Trace advice and let schools know so home learning can be arranged where needed. If anyone in the household tests positive, then everyone who lives in the house is a contact and the pupil must not go to school. Additionally, remember if anyone has symptoms, they need to isolate and take a PCR test – children with symptoms should not go to school unless they’ve had a negative PCR result. If picking young people up and dropping off, parents should please wear face coverings, socially distance and limit time spent near the school site.

If you test positive, or been informed by NHS Test and Trace you have been a contact of someone who has, it is essential that you self-isolate for 10 days - this is still the law until 16 August and helps break the chain of transmission. Information on support during self-isolation can be found here. You need to take a confirmatory PCR test, which can be booked by calling 119 or via here. If you need to self-isolate and are finding this difficult, please phone our Coronavirus helpline on 0161 217 6046 or for further information visit here.

Also remember to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. If you’re finding things difficult, reach out as we have lots of offers of help and support listed here. For further information on how you might look after yourself, visit our Health and Wellbeing pages or Healthy Stockport.

*This is the latest figure for Stockport validated on 16.7.21.