Sharp rise in coronavirus cases prompt call for Gateshead-wide effort

Gateshead residents and businesses are being urged to closely follow public health guidance after a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.

Gateshead saw its infection rate rise to 94 new cases in the last week, a rise from 32 from the previous week, equating to 45 cases per 100,000 people. This places the borough at significant risk of being placed on the Government’s watch list of areas of concern.

Alice Wiseman, Gateshead’s Director of Public Health, said: “There has been a significant rise in positive coronavirus cases in the past week and our investigations indicate that these are across all areas of the borough.

“Whilst the rise in cases do not mean the introduction of any localised restrictions at this stage, we are concerned about the increasing numbers and are continuing to monitor the data that we receive in case local action is required. We will be working with local businesses and the public to monitor the situation and additional steps may need to be taken if infection rates continue to rise.”

In an effort to manage the rise in infections, Gateshead Council has recently asked care homes to suspend all but essential visits. The Council is also working closely with local businesses to ensure that they are following Government guidance to keep customers and workers safe as well as increasing communications to residents.

People in Gateshead can continue to play their part by:

  • Keeping two metres apart from others
  • Washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wearing a face covering where possible
  • Don’t leave home if you, or anyone in your household, has COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you have symptoms arrange a test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. Symptoms of coronavirus include a high temperature, new continuous cough and a loss or change in your sense of taste and smell. 

Councillor Catherine Donovan, Deputy Council Leader and Chair of Gateshead's Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “The harsh reality is that the virus has not gone away. As lockdown restrictions have eased and with more social activities taking place, we are concerned that the importance of social distancing is being overlooked. We understand that people want to socialise with friends and family however it’s vital that we continue to follow guidance to protect us all and do everything we can to avoid any further restrictions.”

More details about outbreak planning in Gateshead and steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, can be found at: www.gateshead.gov.uk/coronavirus