Brighton and Hove is at “tipping point” as the number of official coronavirus cases more than doubled in the past week.
The city has put its weekly local alert level on hold until it gets full details about the Government’s new national local COVID alert levels, announced by Boris Johnson yesterday.
Under the national three tier system Brighton and Hove is currently in the lowest tier, medium, which means only the now-standard restrictions such as the rule of six and the 10pm curfew apply.
However, the number of cases in the week to 8 October currently stands at 240, double the previous seven days’ total, with more results for those days yet to be published.
The latest total is almost six times the 39 cases in the seven days to 24 September.
That equates to a rate per 100,000 of about 78 – about the level which northern towns and cities were experiencing when they were put into local lockdown.
It’s also about the same rate as the capital, which London mayor Sadiq Khan has said today he expects to be placed into tier 2 restrictions – high – within days.
This would mean people from different households could only meet outside, still subject to the rule of six. In the top tier, very high, pubs can only stay open if they serve substantial food, and households cannot mix outdoors and travel outside the area is discouraged.
There have been reports that tier 2 restrictions kick in when an area hits 100 cases per 100,000 people, but the government said yesterday that a range of factors would be taken into consideration.
Brighton and Hove’s director of public health Alistair Hill said: “We are still seeing most new cases among young people, including students. Both the universities are working hard to support students while they self-isolate and prevent the virus spreading.
“But the virus does not discriminate according to age and we are seeing cases in all age groups
“The city is at a tipping point. We have a chance to stop this very infectious disease from spreading – but only if we all work together to slow it down.
“We know most infections happen when people and households meet and mix with each other.
“This is not a time to take risks with our own health, because that can spread the infection to everyone around us. Before going out to mix with other people, please ask yourself ‘do I really need to do this and what can I do to reduce my risk?'”
The most recent figures from the universities say that the University of Sussex has 67 cases, and the University of Brighton 54.
Two more primary schools and four secondary schools reported cases amongst their community in the past seven days.
Stopping the spread – what we can all do
- Wash hands or use sanitiser and clean shared surfaces regularly
- Wear face coverings (if able to)
- Maintain social distancing of 2 metres
- Limit contact between households and keep to the rule of six
- Reduce contact with other people and meet outside if you can
- Work from home if possible
Most important of all:
- If you have symptoms you must self-isolate as soon as they start and ask your household to self-isolate too
- Book a test online and stay home while waiting for your appointment or home testing kit to arrive – do not let friends or family to visit you
- Remain at home until you get a negative test result or the quarantine period is over – do not leave the house for any reason
- If told you are a contact of someone with Covid, you must self-isolate for 14 days and apply for a test.