Urging caution as Torbay Covid-rates spike

By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead

A plea: please be careful out there; coronavirus has not gone away; in fact, cases are nearly as high today as they have ever been.

The NHS is creaking under the strain, whether that be the GP surgeries or Torbay Hospital as more people seek medical assistance, either because of COVID or other illnesses.

Thousands of vulnerable people in the Bay are again choosing to shield, fearful of the consequences of venturing out whilst hordes of extra tourists are visiting the Bay.

A combination of good weather and Bank Holiday Monday meant that some areas of Torbay were full to bursting over the weekend, and not everyone chose to keep taking precautions.

Cases in the Bay were already running the fifth highest in the country with all of the top five being in Devon and Cornwall – the latter being the highest.

At the end of last week, the cases were already running at just short of 600 per one hundred thousand people, which compares to the national average of 315 per one hundred thousand and that was before the tourists arrived in their tens of thousands.

Sadly five more people died in Torbay Hospital last week, which serves to remind us forcefully that we need to continue to be careful.

The Government is relying on each and every one of us to be sensible and to continue to observe the mantra, hands, face, space. However, it has chosen not to back the advice with any legislation.

It is down to us.

It is a sad irony that the very things we rely upon for our local economy – retail and tourism are also the things that are likely to put us at risk because of their people-centric nature.

As ever, you can’t always spot when someone is carrying the illness, many are asymptomatic and you will not know that you have been in contact with someone infectious until you come down with the symptoms.

So it is back to wearing masks, keeping your distance and exercising utmost caution when venturing out, particularly into our crowded summer holiday streets and busy hospitality venues.

The vaccinations go a long way to keeping us safe, but they are not a guarantee against contracting the virus, not at all. Still, in the majority of cases, they do make the symptoms milder and can prevent hospitalisation.

The Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022 continues to help people whatever their needs and should be your first call if you choose to go back into isolation until the worst has passed.

At the end of last week, Torbay along with the rest of Devon and Cornwall the Government announced additional support for Torbay in response to our continued very high level of COVID-19 cases.

The new status lasts for five weeks and means the Government has prioritised our areas for additional support to reduce case rates. But again, the support will be futile unless we all play our part.

The advice is straightforward and nothing new:

  • Get both vaccinations as soon as possible and give it time to work
  • Get tested even if you don’t have symptoms and even if you have had one or both jabs
  • Comply with the legal requirement to self-isolate if you have symptoms or test positive. There is financial support available for eligible people.
  • Stay at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community
  • Step up your COVID-19 safety: Meet in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open and keep thinking hands, face and space

As our visitors begin to go home at the end of this week and schools return there is a genuine fear that case numbers will again rise, initially among younger people who are yet to be vaccinated.

However, what is often forgotten when considering young people and coronavirus is the simple fact that they then pass it on to their parents and other relatives,  including their potentially vulnerable grandparents.

Sadly our journey through the coronavirus crisis is by no means over, and who knows what will happen next as the temperatures begin to fall and we all move back indoors?

We all need to look out for each other and if you have no one to turn to then pick up the phone and ring the helpline on 01803 446022 – one call that’s all. Or use the online form – bit.ly/torbayhelpline