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Health director urges caution as Derbyshire opens up

Published: 17 May 2021

Public Health Director Dean Wallace is calling for caution as Derbyshire opens up today (Monday 17 May 2021) with COVID-19 cases in some parts of the county remaining high.

It follows the Prime Minister's announcement that the next stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown can go ahead with restrictions lifting as planned.

But with infection rates in Erewash remaining high, Mr Wallace is urging people across Derbyshire to remain on their guard and enjoy their new freedoms safely.

His warning comes after 2 cases in the Long Eaton community were confirmed as ‘variants of concern’ – a new Indian variant and the South African variant that spread more easily.

It follows an outbreak of coronavirus at Wilsthorpe Academy in Long Eaton which resulted in around 170 staff and pupils testing positive – although none of these cases have so far been found to be variants of concern.

Mr Wallace, who is leading the county’s response to the pandemic, said:

“This significant outbreak is a timely reminder that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and we still need to take precautions to protect those we love from this illness – especially those not yet vaccinated.

“I know people will be looking forward to more freedom, but I would ask everyone across Derbyshire to take a sensible approach and think carefully about the risks to their loved ones before making any decisions about mixing indoors.”

From today the lifting of restrictions means:

  • groups of up to 6 people or 2 households can mix indoors and social contact, such as hugging, is allowed
  • overnight stays between 2 households are allowed
  • groups of up to 30 people can meet outdoors
  • pubs and cafes can serve customers indoors
  • cinemas, museums and children’s play areas can open up
  • some larger events including conferences, theatre performances, concerts and sports events can take place with limits on capacity.

Mr Wallace added:

“While we’re all allowed to visit our relatives indoors I’d urge everyone throughout Derbyshire to use their judgement to keep everyone safe.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a test if you have symptoms as well as regular twice-weekly testing if you have no symptoms.”

He also called for everyone to continue to follow the guidelines ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air’ – as this is the most effective way to control the spread of all variants of coronavirus.

“It’s vitally important that we continue to wear face masks where required unless you are exempt, to keep on washing your hands regularly and keep 2 metres away from anyone not in your household.

“It’s true that opening windows and doors helps to disperse COVID particles in the air but it’s far safer to stay outside in the open air where the risk of catching the virus is much lower.

The main coronavirus symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Anyone with these symptoms must self-isolate immediately and book a test online or ring NHS 119. They should only leave their house to get a test.

People without symptoms should continue to get tested twice a week by visiting one of our community testing centres. They can also pick up rapid testing kits for use at home from these centres or from their local pharmacy.

Mr Wallace added:

“We’ve come so far in our fight against this pandemic and the vaccine has been a real turning point and I'd urge everyone to get both doses of the vaccine when they are called.

“Thanks to everyone continuing to follow the guidance and get tested regularly to help bring this outbreak under control. I’d urge everyone throughout Derbyshire to keep going and use your judgement to keep everyone safe.”