Rise in Covid cases in Harborough are in people 'of working age', as council leader urges people to get tested
Cllr Phil King threw down the gauntlet to councillors to take two Covid-19 tests a week in a bid to beat the virus
The leader of Harborough council is calling on councillors to take two Covid-19 tests a week in a bid to beat the virus.
Cllr Phil King threw down the gauntlet to members at the remote full council meeting last night (Monday).
The Conservative council chief said that over 53,000 of the district’s 81,000 residents have now received at least one jab as the brilliant vaccination rollout gathers pace.
And he said there has been a “massive decline” in the number of new cases being reported locally.
But Cllr King warned that in the last week - up to Tuesday April 20 - new cases almost trebled from 11 to 31 in Harborough.
He said the steep rise was due mainly to “people of working age” being infected.
“One in three people with Covid-19 does not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly.
“Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately,” insisted Cllr King.
“Since rapid testing was introduced, over 120,000 positive cases that would not have been found otherwise have already been identified by rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs).
“By making rapid tests available to everyone, more cases will be detected, breaking chains of transmission and saving lives.”
He said that the Government advises that everyone completes two rapid lateral flow tests at home or via a community test base - like the one at Market Harborough Leisure Centre.
“Anyone can access free rapid lateral tests for themselves and their families to use twice a week, in line with clinical guidance to help prevent outbreaks and reclaim a more normal way of life,” stressed Cllr King.
“There can be no room for complacency.
“I urge everyone on this council to set the lead in our community by ensuring that you complete the two tests per week.”
He welcomed the successful reopening of ‘non-essential’ shops, leisure centres, gyms, hairdressers, and outdoor service for hospitality, including Market Harborough Market, on Monday April 12.
“We are now looking forward to Monday 17th May when hospitality can reopen indoors,” said Cllr King.
“And outdoors you can meet anyone, with hopefully the ending of all the restrictions which is due to come about finally around June 21st.”
He said 50 out of Harborough district’s pubs told council staff they were reopening on April 12.
“Some 22 premises said they would be waiting until May and our team were unable to contact 28 premises as there was no response to calls and emails.
“In addition to this work, a number of visits were undertaken by both the Environmental Health Officers and the Licensing Team to check on compliance,” Cllr King told councillors.
“45 visits to hospitality premises across the district have been undertaken during April to date.
“Generally the compliance levels have been very good and the owners of the premises have responded positively to the advice given by the teams.
“Unfortunately, it was deemed necessary to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice on a premises in Market Harborough.
“However, since then there has been greater engagement between the pub and the Environmental Health Team and they are working together to try and resolve the issues where possible.
“Over the first weekend of easing of restrictions the team visited or made observations at 25 premises.
“The team were really pleased with the level of compliance over the weekend and only three premises were reported to the council by the police following complaints from the public,” added Cllr King.
“All of which will have received a following visit or contact by the team prior to this weekend.
“Moving forward ahead of the next key date of the Roadmap, on May 17, the team will continue their engagement and offer support and advice as necessary.
“In addition to this, our business team, alongside finance and revs and bens teams, have been helping hundreds of businesses by making sure that their claims for grants, etc, have been processed and paid promptly.
“Between November 2020 and April 1 this year, over 3,100 grants have been paid totalling £8.501 million, with a further £4.5 million due to paid out imminently via the Government restart grants.
“This, added to previous tranches of support, means that over £35 million will have been paid out to local business via Government grants.
“This excludes support via central government or furlough schemes, etc”