Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor has penned a statement appealing to the public to abide by the government’s coronavirus guidelines, as cases are expected to rise over the winter months.

She said: “As we head into what was already anticipated to be a difficult winter period, we are extremely concerned that the most recent data is showing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Stevenage and elsewhere across the county.

“The number of cases in the town is at its highest level since May.

“The majority of new infections are in the 20 to 49 age bracket, and while they may not pose a serious threat to the health of most younger people, we all need to be aware that the virus can still have dangerous effects.

“The risk of spreading the virus to older and more vulnerable residents is still high and could result in an increase in serious COVID-19 cases which require hospitalisation.

“With no vaccine currently available, this pandemic is not over and could get worse during the winter months, presenting challenges for our local NHS to administer care to all patients.

“If we all take personal responsibility in helping to stop the spread of infection – reinforcing our commitment to social distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands regularly and properly – we can mitigate the worst of it and prevent more drastic measures needing to be taken.

“We’ve only just reopened the town, let’s not see our pubs, restaurants and other businesses closing again.

“The application of some good old-fashioned common sense can help prevent that.

“To keep our residents safe and to avoid becoming one of the government’s local lockdown areas, we need all Stevenage residents to keep playing their part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 within the local community.

“Please observe the well-publicised social distancing guidelines and the new ‘Rule of Six’ with regards to group gatherings.

“And if you think that you may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19 you should self-isolate for 14 days.

“If you are feeling unwell, you should call 119 or book a test at”

The latest data shows that between September 8 and 14, Stevenage had 38 cases per 100,000 – the average area in England had 16.

In the same period, the town had 33 confirmed cases, up 15 from the week before.