As one of the areas of the UK with the highest rates of COVID-19, Knowsley is also noting significant rates in the number of people over 60 testing positive for the virus.
This is in contrast to other areas of the UK where Coronavirus cases are concentrated in younger aged residents – particularly places with a large student population.
Currently in Knowsley COVID-19 rates within the over 60 age category are 533 per 100,000 population (as of 19 Oct).
Dr Sarah McNulty, Knowsley’s Director of Public Health said:
“We know that COVID-19 presents a significantly greater health risk for our older population and it is a grave concern to see our figures, within this age group, increasing so substantially.
“For younger people the chances are that symptoms of COVID-19 will be mild or manageable and that in most cases people can expect a full recovery from their illness. The experience and outcomes for our older residents are sadly very different and it is this part of our community that is at most risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and potentially death.
“It is a frightening reality of this virus and something we all need to bear in mind when we consider our own actions and compliance with the restrictions which are in place to stop the spread of the virus.”
On Wednesday 14 October, Knowsley, along with all other areas in the Liverpool City Region was placed within Tier 3 – the top ‘Very High risk’ category in a new Government local alert system. This means new restrictions are in force and certain businesses have been forced to close.
The Liverpool City Region is the only area of the UK currently designated at “Very High Risk” a decision that takes into consideration not only the spread of the virus but also the impact on vulnerable groups and on local hospitals.
Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said:
“We know that other areas of the UK are also experiencing high rates of infection but what sets us apart from many of these areas is the rate at which the virus is increasing in our more vulnerable age groups.
“These residents are more likely to become seriously ill as a result of the virus and more likely to be hospitalised. That is why we are already experiencing pressures mounting in our local hospitals which is putting the whole system under incredible strain. It is this factor that has caused huge concern locally and nationally and why the Government were clear that we had to be placed in the highest possible local alert level.
“We have to disrupt the spread of the virus across our local communities to protect everyone in our society but in particular to protect those most at risk. I would urge everyone to follow the guidance, if not for their own sake but for the sake of our more vulnerable residents – potentially their parents, grandparents, neighbours or friends.”
To protect yourself and others you must always:
- Ensure stringent social distancing – stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble
- Limit your social contacts – being mindful of the widespread virus transmission
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available
- Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose where social distancing is not possible outdoors and indoors. By law, you must now wear them in most indoor settings including public transport, shops, post-offices, banks, beauty salons, visitor attractions and entertainment venues, libraries, community centres, places of worship and public areas in hotels
- Avoid crowded environments where the risk of transmission is higher
- Avoid businesses that are not COVID-19 secure (including shops, cafes and restaurants) If they are not looking after you, don’t go there!
What to do if you develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms such as a cough, or fever, or you lose your sense of taste or smell, get a test and stay at home until you get the result. You can book a test by going to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you do not have internet access. If you test positive, please stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms have started. If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, follow their instructions.
What if you need help to self-isolate?
Now is the time to think about who would support you if you can’t go out. Who will be able to help you get your shopping and essentials? Ask your family, friends or neighbours if they can help – have a plan.
Knowsley’s Community Support and Volunteer Line is here help people who have been asked to self-isolate and have no means of support from friends, family, or neighbours, to remain at home. Get in touch if you need help with:
• Food supplies
• Dog walking
• Collecting Prescriptions
• Or just having a friendly voice just to speak to
Those needing support can call 0800 073 0043 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Sunday.