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The latest on Enhanced Response Area status

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Public Health Devon is in conversation this week with different government departments to understand what support is available from central government, to help reduce the coronavirus case rates in the county.

Conversations follow the announcement last Friday that Devon, alongside Plymouth, Torbay, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is now elevated to ‘Enhanced Response Area’ status, because case rates in the county are among the highest in England.

Our Director of Public Health Devon, Steve Brown said:

“The reality is, it’s going to be more of what we are familiar with already.

“We’re going to see better use of our community testing vans.

“We’ve got five testing vans, which go out across Devon.  Two of those vans already have embedded vaccination teams, so they’re going out to areas where there’s low uptake of vaccine and encouraging particularly young people and people who probably wouldn’t ordinarily go to our fixed vaccination sites to come forward to get vaccinated.

“We’re going to be looking at testing as well to make sure that there is testing capability across the whole of Devon, so people can access testing swiftly and easily.

“We’re also going to see an increase in our public health campaigns, to encourage people to get tested if they have symptoms, and obviously to take up the vaccination programme.”

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon

Coronavirus cases have fallen a little in the latest recorded week, but Steve Brown expects that with schools and universities and colleges going back over the next week or two, it’s highly likely that we are going to see the number of cases rising again.

“We’ve all got a vital role to play.

“Please, if you’re eligible to be vaccinated, get your vaccination.

“If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – high temperature, loss of sense of smell or taste, or persistent cough – please isolate and then book yourself a PCR test.

“I’d also encourage people to test regularly using lateral flow tests, particularly when going out to visit vulnerable people; or you’re going to an event maybe; or you’ve come back from an event. These would be ideal times to take a lateral flow test.

“And also please don’t forget the good, old-fashioned public health measures – washing your hands, wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, and social distancing where we can.

“Together we can help keep the rate as low as possible as we go into the Autumn and Winter.”

Listen to the full statement on our You Tube channel.