Council leader backs Government's Tier 3 decision for our area

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor smiling at the camera

Councillor Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, says we must not let our guard down. - Credit: Stevenage Borough Council

After news yesterday that our area will move into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, the leader of Stevenage Borough Council says the exponential rise in cases "left health authorities with no other option".

Our area will be moved into Tier 3 - the highest alert level for COVID-19 - from 00.01am on Saturday, December 19, alongside the rest of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. 

The news comes as coronavirus case rates have soared in recent weeks.

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said:  “There has been a significant rise in COVID-19 cases within Hertfordshire as a whole over the past few weeks and the Government has opted to move Hertfordshire to the highest level.

"We recognise the very significant efforts of Stevenage residents in keeping the numbers in our borough relatively low, however, the exponential rise in cases across large parts of the rest of the county and the risk of infection spreading from London and other parts of Hertfordshire has left health authorities with no other option.

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“As of Wednesday, Stevenage had recorded an incidence case rate of 145.9 cases per 100,000, representing a decrease on the previous figures. In Hertfordshire as a whole the number stands at 209 cases per 100,000, with certain areas acting as significant outliers.

"The rapid rise in infection rates in 12-16 year old age groups is very concerning and common across much of London, Essex and the South East. While infection in younger children below 12 presents a lower risk, teenagers are capable of spreading the virus, and there is already evidence of transmission from teenagers to older age groups.

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“The number of people attending hospital with the virus is also heading the wrong way across England and certainly within Hertfordshire and neighbouring areas. Our local acute health trusts remain under considerable pressure and have activated their business continuity plans. Like all employers they are also coping with numbers of their staff either being absent with the virus or having to self-isolate.

“Unquestionably, we continue to face an extremely challenging situation. But as we do so, our team and partners in Stevenage are continuing to do their level best to support the community and local businesses through the worst of the pandemic.

“We completely understand that residents and businesses will be extremely concerned about this latest development and we will do our best to get any further information we have, particularly about what support is available, out on our website as quickly as possible.

"It is certainly good news that people are now being vaccinated against the virus, however, we must not let our guard down.

"We encourage people to continue to follow the restrictions and be particularly cautious over the upcoming festive period. Follow the government guidance; wash your hands regularly, wear a mask and maintain space from others.

"Finally I would like to say that we continue to remember those tragically affected by this virus, the families in Stevenage who have lost loved ones, those with families and friends in hospital and in care homes, and those who may face uncertainty in their employment, their home, or their ability to put food on the table."

Further information about the restrictions is available here.

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