Tougher COVID-19 restrictions introduced by Oldham Council following recent spike in cases

PEOPLE in Oldham are being asked to stick to tough Coronavirus restrictions to help protect themselves, their friends and their families.

To help halt the spread of the virus, save lives, and avoid local lockdown we are issuing new guidance for Oldham residents and businesses. This guidance begins today and will continue for the next two weeks.

Residents are being asked not to have social visitors to their home, and to keep two metres apart from friends and family when seeing them outside. Those people who are “shielding” will also be asked to continue to shield for another two weeks from Friday 31 July.

This comes after the number of cases of Coronavirus in the borough increased dramatically over the last week. Oldham has seen 119 cases in the seven days to 25 July. By comparison the week ending 17 July saw just 26 positive cases.This means a current rate 50.2 positive tests per 100,000 versus 10.2 per 100,000 the week before. This rate is well above Greater Manchester and national averages and is the sixth highest rate in the country.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and cabinet member for Covid-19 recovery, said: “We’re urging residents to continue to take the risk of coronavirus seriously and to stick to the guidelines.

“The best way to avoid infection is to limit contact with others as much as possible and to stay home wherever you can, including working from home  Limit contact with other people and respect social distancing where you do go out; keeping at least 2 metres from those not in your household and avoid shaking hands or hugging

“Where meeting outside you should meet in groups of no more than six people from different households. Gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is exclusively from two households or support bubbles.

“You should be doing everything possible to avoid taking part in gatherings of more than 30 people. It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes, including gardens and other outdoor spaces, and for a range of other events, including weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and services, community activities and support groups the Government advice is the same.

“Please also ensure you wear a mask where you cannot keep at least 2 metres from others, particularly in indoor public spaces when you are around people you do not usually meet. This includes, but is not limited to, shops and public transport.

“We know that people across Oldham desperately want to see their friends and family, and get back to normal. But these restrictions are essential if we are to stop the spread of Coronavirus and prevent a strict local lockdown being put in place, as we have seen elsewhere in the country.”

The restrictions mean that:

  • To reduce spread between households, we are advising that you do not have social visitors to your home, outside of those in your support bubble
  • To ensure we protect older and vulnerable people, our care homes will not relax restrictions on care home visiting
  • We are advising those who are clinically vulnerable whose shielding should have come to an end from 31 July to extend shielding for a further two weeks from that date (to 14 August).

A significant proportion of recent cases involve multiple individuals testing positive within a household, showing that household spread is a real issue – especially in households with large families.

While this increase in cases locally is worrying, it’s important to note that we are not yet seeing the numbers of cases that saw a local lockdown imposed elsewhere. What we are seeking to do is act early to avoid that possibility.

Katrina Stephens, Director of Public Health for Oldham, said: “We know that effective testing is at the heart of tackling the spread of the virus. We therefore urging anyone who shows symptoms that may be Coronavirus to book a test online.

“Where people test positive or have symptoms, or where people have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, they must ensure they follow the guidance on self isolation. If you have symptoms you should stay at home for seven days and book a test as soon as possible.

“If you test positive you should self-isolate for seven days. Members of your family and support bubble and others who you have been in contact with should self-isolate for 14 days, even if they access a test themselves and test negative. This is because it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear.

“If we all do our bit and stick to the restrictions now, we can help stop the spread of Coronavirus, and protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

A helpline is available to support those self-isolating with access to food, medicine, financial support and loneliness. The helpline is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0161 770 7007.

To book a Coronavirus test go to https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or call NHS 119

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