Stay home call as city's infection rate remains high
Sunderland's Director of Public Health is calling on residents to stay at home as Covid rates continue to be among the highest the city has seen during the pandemic.
Gerry Taylor, Executive Director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning said that although figures are now slightly down on what they were, the high case rates remain proof of the seriousness of the situation and the need for everyone to stay home.
She said: "In the space of a month we have seen our rates rise from 167 cases per 100,000 in the seven days ending 4 December to 570 cases per 100,000 in the week ending 4 of January.
"The number of tests coming back positive almost doubled from 6.5 per cent in the first week of December to 12.1 per cent in the first week of January, and we are now seeing infection rates in the city around three times higher than they were at the beginning of December.
"These figures really do spell out the seriousness of the situation. Following the Christmas break, case rates in the city were the highest they have been throughout the whole pandemic so it really is important for people to stay home to keep themselves and their families safe.
"While we're not seeing the figures reported in other parts of the country, our case rates are still really high and we know that it's likely those cases will result in more people in hospital in the weeks to come.
"That's why, right now, we need to do everything in our power to stop the virus spreading so we don't see our infection levels rise even further.
"Please stay at home unless your reason for leaving falls into one of the very few reasons we are permitted to leave our homes, such as for exercise, to shop for essentials or to work if you absolutely cannot do so from home.
"As we know, this virus thrives on social contact so reducing contact with others is vital. If we all play our part and stay at home, we can deny the virus the opportunity to spread further."
Gerry said the good news was that the city's most vulnerable residents are now beginning to receive their vaccinations but cautioned that the roll out of the vaccination programme will take time.
And she urged anyone who is offered a vaccine to take up the offer to help keep themselves and others safe - but to remember to continue to follow the national stay at home guidance, as well as the guidance around hands, face and space even after the vaccination.
Thanking residents for playing their part in fighting the virus, she added: "Once again, I just want to say thank you to everyone for all you are doing to fight this virus. I know it is really hard at the moment, but we must keep going.
"Right now it's more important than ever and if we work together, we can protect our friends, families and communities."
Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said the latest figures showed it was more important than ever to stay at home and follow the rules.
He said: "These latest figures show why it's vital that we all stay home as much as we possibly can to try to get our case numbers down across the city. We have all seen reports of the pressure high cases rates across the country are placing on the NHS and we have to do everything we can to protect it and each other.
"And right now one of the best ways to do that is to stay home and keep following the rules as people in Sunderland have been doing so brilliantly all along."
To find out more about the latest information and guidance visit: sunderland.gov.uk.