CORONAVIRUS: We’re not out of danger yet

Published Thursday, 11th June 2020

Residents in Hartlepool are being warned frustration and desperation to return to normal life are not good enough reasons to ignore social distancing.

It comes after Gill Alexander – the Chief Executive of Hartlepool Borough Council – stressed the importance of social distancing in actively helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 – during a report to a meeting of Full Council.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Alexander said: “As Central Government releases the lockdown it would be easy to think we are through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, the rate of infection here in Hartlepool is currently in the worst 20% nationally and around one in three people who develop COVID-19 locally will die, as opposed to one in four across England. Combined with the likelihood of further spikes and the profound impact the virus has had on our economy and community, it is clear we are by no means out of the woods just yet.

“In a town like Hartlepool where everyone knows everyone, the importance of social distancing should not be underestimated. In normal contact with a disease which spreads like Coronavirus, people who are ill and pass it on would infect around 400 people within a month. With a 50% reduction in social contact, that number falls from 400 to about 15. If you get to a 75% reduction in social contact that drops to less than three.”

Gill Alexander

Gill Alexander

Ms Alexander was speaking after delivering a report on Hartlepool Borough Council’s response to the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the report by clicking here.

The Council has also produced a timeline detailing how they – working with partners across the town have responded to the virus. You can view this document by clicking here.

Ms Alexander added: “We have reached a critical point in the emergency response phase as the lockdown is released. However, we are coming to terms with the fact that there will be no swift return to business as usual and we know society will be different as a result of COVID-19.

“We have now seen how vulnerable we are to pandemics and we will be dealing with this one until there is a vaccine. Some regions of the UK – including the North East – also face a higher likelihood of a second wave.

“The Council has a key role in maintaining social distancing and encouraging COVID-19 safe measures in public spaces, shops and other high risk venues and we are about to roll out new signage reminding people to observe social distancing.

"But we also need people across Hartlepool to help and our message to them is simple – please play your part and stay apart.”

Keep your distance sign

One of the new signs reminding people to observe social distancing