Leaders from key organisations across Cleveland have urged local people to continue their efforts to drive down Covid-19.
Under the banner of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) heads of local authorities, Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade, public health agencies and NHS organisations say that now is a crucial time to stick to the rules so that restrictions can be cautiously eased over the coming months.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a roadmap last week, which sets future dates for easing lockdown measures based upon available data.
Whilst there is now a plan in place to find a route back to normal life, emergency services say now is not the time to take the foot off the gas.
The Local Resilience Forum has been planning and adapting to the changing Covid situation and is at the heart of the response to keep people safe across Cleveland. This also includes the community testing program which people are asked to continue to access.
Cleveland Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Graham, who is also the Chair of the LRF Strategic Coordination Group, said: “There are lots of things to be positive about as we look to slowly move away from the restrictions in place. We have a great story to tell around our vaccine programme and additional good news that a new vaccine is to be produced at Fujifilm on Teesside.
“The green shoots are there for us to get back to normal life, but now is not the time to be complacent. We have come this far and need to continue our efforts so that restrictions can be lifted in the weeks and months to come.
“We can only protect our loved ones, and reduce levels of Covid, by sticking to the rules that are in place. To take our foot of the gas at this crucial stage could undo all the good progress that we have made.”
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Carl Boasman from Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “Local people have worked together over many months to keep themselves and loved ones safe, and we all welcome the roadmap to take us forward, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
“The data drives the decision making, and we all have a part to play in the wider effort to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases. Everyone has made huge sacrifices and if we all pull together we can see this through.”
Chief Nurse and Director of Patient Safety and Quality for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Lindsey Robertson, added: “The government announcement is good news. But it has been a very challenging time and continues to be so – we are not out of the woods yet and still have lots of patients in hospital with COVID-19.
“The pressure is still there, we still have very ill patients in critical care. We must continue to practice good hand hygiene, wear a facemask in public and accept a vaccination appointment when offered.”
Residents can access community testing across Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Hartlepool. This lateral flow testing is only for people who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19.
People who cannot work from home, and therefore come into contact with lots of people should book regular tests. Please visit the local authority websites for more information.