St Albans sees surge in coronavirus infections

There has been a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases within St Albans City and District. It now has the highest rate in the county. This was followed by the areas of Welwyn Hatfield and Stevenage.

For the week ending the 15th September, 54 new infections were recorded in St Albans. This equates to a rate of 36 cases per 100,000 people, whilst the average area in England was 16. Overall, there has been 714 cases within the area to date. The local council is aware of the situation, and are taking action to stop the infection rate from advancing further.

Leader of St Albans City and District Council, Chris White, said:

“There is a spike of Covid-19 cases in the District which reflects national trends. This is, of course, disappointing and we are working with other public agencies and partners on preventative measures.”

He added that this included ‘liaising with Hertfordshire County Council’ who are ‘the public health authority for the area,’ in addition to ‘the NHS and police.’ The council are also implementing specific measures to help prevent an additional growth in numbers. Councillor White explains further:

“Among our own initiatives has been the production of a video in which I appeal to our residents to play their part in keeping the virus under control, and explain how they can do that.”

The video was released over the weekend and ‘has already had in excess of 20,000 potential views’ on ‘social media channels.’ It encourages residents to ‘follow the basic ideas’ of hand washing, and to wear face masks when ‘appropriate.’ Furthermore, Councillor White advises people to be mindful of social distancing, and to self-isolate if they have Covid-19 symptoms.

Protocols are also in place within busy areas of the town centre, which the Council Leader describes in more detail:

“We have taken steps to Covid-proof our Charter Market which is held twice a week in the City Centre by widening the gap between stalls, encouraging customers to social distance and briefing traders about their responsibilities. We have also supported the County Council, the highways authority, in the pedestrianisation of two City Centre streets so that shoppers and visitors can more easily maintain social distance.”

In the interim, the council and its partners ‘will continue to monitor developments and take any further action open’ to them, in order ‘to try and reduce the impact of Covid-19.’

What is the situation on a national level?

On Monday (21st September) the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned if swift action was not taken the UK could witness up to 50,000 new coronavirus infections per day by mid-October. This would correlate to around 200-plus deaths each day in November. At present, the number of new cases generally doubles every seven days.

During the same news briefing Professor Chris Whitty, England's Chief Medical Officer, added there had been ‘significant rates of transmission’ in areas across the UK, amongst every age group. He went onto say that around 8% of the population might have been infected with Covid-19, and consequently developed antibodies.

Professor Whitty also said that the pandemic was a collective problem for everyone, and intimated restrictions may need to be implemented on social interactions. More specifically, to try and ‘break unnecessary links between households’ as this ‘is the way in which this virus is transmitted.’

Finally, it is expected that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will give an update on Tuesday (22nd September) to relay the government’s next measures to tackle the rise in coronavirus numbers.

*Video courtesy of St Albans City and District Council.

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