Council leaders in Blackburn and Darwen have warned that “Everyone in Blackburn with Darwen must comply with the government’s restrictions to help avoid stricter measures being introduced for the whole borough next week.”
In a statement the council have said:
Since the outbreak began in March, there have been 1,988 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Blackburn with Darwen. This is roughly equal to 13 people out of every 1,000 who live in the Borough.
The latest data shows that in the seven days to the 5th of September, 99 people tested positive for Covid-19, which represents a weekly rate of 66.5 cases per 100,000 residents, an increase on the week before of almost 40%.
This is the data that the Council and public health partners are using to guide local plans and decisions.
From Monday 14 September, the government’s new ‘rule of six’ comes into effect. Enforceable by law, this means that anyone found gathering in groups of more than six people, whether indoors or outdoors, can be fined £100 each.
Denise Park, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
The threat of further restrictions for the whole borough is very real. We all need to take action right now to help prevent that.
We know people are fed up with the current situation. Some people are not complying with the rules, some people are becoming complacent, and that has started to have an impact on the increase in cases both locally and nationally.
With the new law coming in across England on Monday, many people may be tempted to get together with family and friends over the weekend.
It is not worth the risk.
With virus infections increasing across the borough, socialising with people from other households vastly increases the risk of spreading the virus – and taking it home to our families. It is when we socialise that we relax and let our guards down, and are less likely to follow guidance fully.
The way this virus works is that we don’t see the impact of how we behave today until three weeks later. The stark reality of this is that we are at risk of reverting to where we were at the start of this pandemic.
We urge all Blackburn with Darwen residents to be sensible, reduce their social contact as much as possible, and play a part in keeping everyone in the borough safe.
Currently eight wards in the borough are subject to tighter restrictions due to the higher numbers of infections there. This prevents residents from these areas meeting up with anyone from outside their household, whether indoors or outdoors.
Now, with increases in many other parts of the borough, it’s vital that everyone complies with the government guidance around social distancing and limiting contact with others – or we could find ourselves in a similar situation to neighbouring Bolton.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
We appreciate how tough things have been since March, almost six months now, and the sacrifices we have all had to make. But the threat of Coronavirus has not gone away, and we cannot afford to drop our guard.
We know we have more tough months ahead of us. Hospital admissions relating to Covid-19 are expected to rise, as we brace ourselves for the colder weather.
If we do not comply with the government guidance on good hygiene, wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance, we fear we will see big changes for our borough.
We have seen greater restrictions introduced in Bolton this week; I don’t want to see them introduced here.
In Blackburn with Darwen, testing remains one of the best ways that we can beat Coronavirus.
There have been a lot of questions around people without symptoms being tested. We are doing this as it is an important way of helping to control the virus in areas of the borough where there is higher incidence.
We will be continuing to do this, and we are asking the government to allow asymptomatic people to book through the national system in areas of intervention.
We will keep the Testing section of the Council’s website updated with the latest position.
Scientific and medical experts have now warned that if we don’t do more to get the virus under control, we will undoubtedly see our hospitals struggling to cope with the number of critically ill patients needing ICU ventilation to help keep them alive.
Mr Jawad Husain is Medical Director at East Lancashire Hospitals and is based at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital. He said:
We need our local community to recognise that if we don’t get control of the spread of Covid-19 in the community, there is no question that hospital admissions will increase, especially amongst the vulnerable and high risk in our population. In fact, we are already beginning to see evidence of this.
People also need to be aware that although not everybody will be hospitalised or die from the disease, Covid-19 can result in serious long term consequences affecting health and quality of life.
Please do your bit – wash your hands regularly; wear a face covering when necessary; and keep two metres away from people. Observe the restrictions that are in place to protect yourself your family, your friends and the NHS.
Councillor Mohammed Khan added:
This virus knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter what colour skin you have, how old you are, whether you are male or female, rich or poor – everyone is at risk.
For those who survive Covid-19, many are left struggling with serious lifelong implications. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from this invisible weapon is to follow the proven scientific and clinical rules and advice.