As Devon prepares for a second national lockdown, the county’s Director of Public Health is making a last appeal for one more effort and urging everyone to “Act now to stop the virus in its tracks” and help prevent local health services from being overwhelmed this winter.
“Local people and businesses made huge sacrifices during the first lockdown and this really helped to keep the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths down in the county,” said Dr Pearson.
“Our residents, shops, businesses, educational establishments and care homes all did a fantastic job to limit the impact of the first wave and this undoubtedly kept the number of positive cases lower in Devon.
“People and communities also came together brilliantly to support one another and look out for the vulnerable and those that might need extra help to stay safe.
“We now need to come together again with one more big effort to help stop the second wave of the virus in its tracks.
“The latest data shows the numbers of cases in the county are increasing, following the pattern in the rest of England.
“Whilst the number of cases is still below the national average, the time to act is now,” she says.
“I am calling on everyone to follow the new lockdown rules, to limit their contact with others, and to follow the basic rules – social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene – at all times.”
Dr Pearson also is also warning people, “Do not be tempted to drop your guard”.
With a growing number of cases now in the working age population, she is calling on people to be extra careful and not to lower their guard in the workplace or when doing the other essential things that are allowed under lockdown.
“In the past month, we’ve seen a growing number of positive cases among the working age population in Devon.
“Evidence suggests that in cases linked to a specific workplace , the spread has often been linked to locations where colleagues meet socially – in staff rooms, kitchens, or other shared communal areas that are ‘down-time’ spaces.
“Lockdown rules will force a change with some continuing to be allowed to work and others staying at home. The rules also ask us to avoid socialising together in most cases with pubs and restaurants being asked to close.
“But if at work and mixing with others we have to take extra care at all times.
“And that includes those ‘take-a-break’ moments with friends and colleagues, where it’s all too easy for our attention to lapse.
“We should also take extra care in other informal social settings such as in the playground when dropping the children to school.
“So please, keep alert to risk at all times. Follow the rules, use common sense and keep yourself and your family safe by not dropping your guard.”