The New Lockdown In Cambridgeshire
Keep up to date with the latest news and developments on the second pandemic lockdown from here in Cambridgeshire.
Local Restriction Tiers
From Wednesday 2nd December, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will follow tier two: high alert local restrictions.
While people are still only allowed to mix indoors with other households or their support bubble, you can now meet up with up to six people outdoors, you can exercise indoors with other people if you are all in the same household or bubble, and 2,000 fans (or 50% of a venue’s capacity whichever is the lowest) can gather to watch any live outdoor event or sport; pubs and bars can open if they serve a substantial meal.
Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “It is vitally important that we now work as hard as we can to reduce our rate of infection to protect those we love ahead of some limited relaxation over Christmas.
"This means reducing contact with anyone you don’t live with, working from home where ever possible, keeping to well ventilated rooms, washing your hands often and regularly and wearing a mask whenever you are in indoor public places.
“Our infection rates are stabilising or coming down across most areas, so we do know how to respond to this pandemic. We have good plans in place to continue to drive down our infection rates, working with our communities and supporting people to take the right steps to protect themselves and others.”
Watch Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, talk about tier two:
Local Contact Tracing Reaching More Than 80% Of Cases
A locally enhanced contact tracing service which launched countywide last month is successfully tracing more than 80 per cent of the cases passed to it by the national team.
The Peterborough contact tracing service launched in August and was extended to cover the whole county on 19 November.
Since August, 787 cases have been passed to the local scheme - all people that the national service has unsuccessfully tried to contact on numerous occasions. The team has made contact with 85 per cent of those 787, a total of 657 people.
Since the 19 November, when the countywide service launched, 280 cases have been passed to the local service, with an 83 per cent of cases completed.
Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and the five district and city councils in Cambridgeshire, are all working closely with NHS Test and Trace to contact people who have tested positive for Covid-19, giving them help, advice and support to self-isolate.
It is an extension of the Peterborough scheme which launched in August.
Officers from each of the councils, who have undergone special training in contact tracing, follow up on people who have tested positive for Covid-19 but have not responded to a call or email from the national service, and ask them for details of their close contacts.
Council officers initially make contact by phone, text or email asking people to call a local number - which from earlier experiences in contacting shielded people, has been found to be more effective than a contact from a national number.
But if this fails, the officers, who all carry local authority identification - make house to house visits to reach those people who have tested positive. They are given advice and support on how they can stay isolated to break the chain of infection, and prevent it spreading to their household contacts. They will also be asked to share details of others they have been in contact with.
Anyone who is concerned by being contacted can call the council or local community hub to check the identity of the tracer on 0345 045 5219.
Support is available for people who need to isolate - and don’t have friends, family or neighbours to help - through the network of support hubs run by the district and city councils. The hubs can help people to get food and medicine without leaving home - or even find volunteers to walk dogs. This information will be given to all those who are contacted.
In addition, each of the district and city councils is running a Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme which entitles people who meet certain criteria to a one-off payment of £500.
Those who don’t meet the criteria to claim from the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme but are still adversely affected as a result of not being able to work, can also apply for a £500 discretionary payment.
Details of these support packages is available on each of the district and city council websites.
No one contacted by NHS Test and Trace will ever be asked for money or their bank details - as the purpose is to let them know how to isolate and get support if they need it. Tests for Covid-19, whether at a mobile testing unit, official drive through centres or elsewhere, or ordered online or by phone are always entirely free
COVID-19 Cases In Cambridgeshire Schools/Early Years/Colleges
For the week commencing November 23 the following number of schools / colleges/ early years settings in each area had confirmed cases of Covid-19:
Cambridge City: 16
South Cambs: 12
East Cambs: 7
NB - There are 335 schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, along with 1,207 early years settings and 9 post 16 colleges.
A total of 151 staff and 1,417 pupils in Cambridgeshire are self-isolating as a result of these cases, with 94 staff and 1,245 pupils self-isolating in Peterborough.
Local Contact Tracing Scheme Expanded Across Cambridgeshire
A locally enhanced contact tracing service which has proven successful in Peterborough in reaching people the national service has not been able to will be expanded to cover the whole of Cambridgeshire from Thursday (19 November).
As part of their concerted efforts to drive down community infections, Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and the five district and city councils in Cambridgeshire, will be working closely with NHS Test and Trace to contact people who have tested positive for Covid-19, giving them help, advice and support to self-isolate, in a further bid to crack down on the pandemic.
From Thursday, officers from each of the councils who have undergone special training in contact tracing, will be following up on people who have tested positive for Covid-19 but have not responded to a call or email from the national service, and will ask them for details of their close contacts.
Council officers will initially make contact by phone, text or email asking people to call a local number - which from earlier experiences in contacting shielded people, has been found to be more effective than a contact from a national number.
But if this fails, the officers, who will all carry local authority identification - will make house to house visits to reach those people who have tested positive. They will be given advice and support on how they can stay isolated to break the chain of infection, and prevent it spreading to their household contacts. They will also be asked to share details of others they have been in contact with.
Anyone who is concerned by being contacted can call the council or local community hub to check the identity of the tracer on 0345 045 5219.
Covid-19 - Latest Cases In Cambridgeshire Schools
To help manage the volume of requests regarding Covid-19 outbreaks in schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and give an overview of the situation, we are issuing a weekly update in our media briefs every Tuesday.
The update will detail the number of schools in each area which have experienced an outbreak of the virus during the preceding week.
We will not identify individual schools, or say how many children or staff have contracted the virus as some schools will only have single cases. However, we will highlight the total number of pupils and staff who are self-isolating as a result of outbreaks.
For the week commencing November 9th the following number of schools in each area had confirmed cases of Covid-19:
Cambridge City: 20
South Cambs: 13
East Cambs: 12
A total of 209 staff and 1,772 pupils in Cambridgeshire are self-isolating as a result of these cases, with 163 staff and 1,818 pupils self-isolating in Peterborough.
Remember At Home This Armistice Day
Residents across Cambridgeshire are being urged to remember at home or work this Armistice Day (11 November) and honour the fallen in their own way.
Traditional wreath-laying ceremonies to mark Armistice Day is not going ahead due to the national restrictions put in place by the Government. Instead, residents are encouraged to observe the two-minute silence at 11am, and to take the opportunity to reflect and remember the sacrifices of those who protected this country in both world wars, and those who are serving in our Armed Forces today.
Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, Councillor Mac McGuire has recorded a vlog:
New Lockdown In Place Until Wednesday 2nd December
From Thursday 5th November, there will be an England-wide new lockdown in place until Wednesday 2nd December.
This means people will stay at home, except for specific purposes, people cannot gather with people they do not live with, except for specific purposes and certain businesses and venues will close. However, schools and universities will remain open.
Cambridgeshire's Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Liz Robin, talks about the new restrictions which will come into place from Thursday:
The new restrictions which are being introduced nationally follow the scientific evidence that the virus spreads mainly through social contact between people. By asking people to stay at home wherever possible and closing pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops, virus transmission will reduce.
Stay Safe This Bonfire Night - Stay Home
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander Per Middleton, head of Community Fire Safety Prevention, said: “Bonfire Night is historically a very popular fixture in the calendar where people come together to enjoy firework displays, however this year is very different. With the COVID-19 pandemic still with us, the organised displays we would usually enjoy cannot take place and we are concerned that some people may look to hold their own displays.
“While most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, they can quickly become a disaster and, in the wrong hands, they can cause injury and damage to property. Fireworks are explosives and should be treated with respect. Only use fireworks in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the firework safety code, ensuring all necessary safety precautions are taken.
“We would strongly discourage people from lighting bonfires in back gardens as they present significant risks to residents if they get out of hand. Not only this, but the smoke can also aggravate coronavirus symptoms for those that might be shielding or isolating.
“We would encourage residents across the county to think twice before having their own displays and lighting bonfires in their gardens this year. Not only do these present risks for residents and our crews, but with the pandemic still with us we all have a responsibility to ensure we don't put unnecessary strain on emergency services. Please show respect this Bonfire Night and think twice about having your own display.”
Schools Remain Open
In line with government guidance, schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will remain fully open and operational during the lockdown period of 5 November – 2 December.
All schools have protective measures in place to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and have a robust contact tracing process in place.
Government legislation on school attendance will not change during the second national lockdown; pupils must continue to attend school as they normally would, and parents and carers should continue to follow absence from school guidance issued via their children's school. The exception to the rule is for those pupils who are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable who will be contacted directly by the government in the coming days.
Jonathan Lewis, Service Director for Education for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “The safety of our children, their families and our school staff is, and always will be, our top priority. We have worked hard over the past few months to implement robust safety measures to make our schools a safe place for our pupils and staff, and I firmly believe school remains the best place for children to continue learning during the upcoming lockdown.
“Our school teams are committed to ensuring pupils follow the rules within school, and I urge parents and carers to do the same outside of school to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Please direct any queries to your child’s school in the first instance; they are always happy to support and advise you.”
HRCs Remain Open
Household Recycling Centres (HRC) across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will remain open to residents during the lockdown.
In Cambridgeshire, all nine HRCs will remain open with current health and safety measures in place.
A booking system for vehicles and trailers requiring e-permits at all sites, and for all vehicles at Alconbury, Bluntisham, Milton, St Neots and Thriplow, also remains in place.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough registration teams have said most services will continue as normal, with the main changes regarding ceremonies.
Appointments for death registrations, birth registrations and giving notice for marriage and civil partnerships can still go ahead. Death registrations are being carried out by telephone only.
In Cambridgeshire the service has caught up on the birth registration backlog, which was due to the national suspension of this service in March, there may be a wait for appointments to register Peterborough births.
Marriages and civil partnerships between Thursday (5 November) and Wednesday 2 December cannot take place. All couples have already been contacted by our registration services team with more details. Clarification from the government is awaited regarding citizenship ceremonies, and customers will be contacted if impacted.