Scarborough borough praised for bringing down infection rate 'but we are not out of the woods yet'

Residents in Scarborough borough have been praised for their efforts in bringing the coronavirus infection rate down, but have been warned that they are “not out of the woods yet”.

Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 11:36 am

The seven-day infection rate in the borough has halved in the last two weeks from the second-highest in England at more than 600 cases per 100,000 people to 296 per 100,000 today.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s director of Public Health, said that the decrease in Scarborough was beyond what was expected from the new lockdown restrictions alone.

Speaking at a meeting of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum today, he said: “We are very pleased [with the Scarborough figures]. At one point Scarborough’s rates were the second-highest in the country behind Hull and I think it is the result of people working together that has accelerated the effect of the lockdown.

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“I think we have had falls in Scarborough that are certainly greater than we would expect just from the effect of the lockdown.

“It is people coming together just signalling the seriousness of the situation and I think we are seeing the results of that.”

Dr Sargeant said that despite the fall the battle was not over and that the county “was not out of the woods yet”.

He added: “I want to stress that this is not over. We need the public to keep the pressure on, act sensibly, get those numbers right down and keep them right down.”

Tomorrow, the country will find out what tier each area will go into.

Richard Webb, director of Health and Adult Services at North Yorkshire County Council, said they had not been told what tier the county would be going into and whether it would be treated as one area or as seven separate districts.

He added: “We expect to know the tiers tomorrow and anything up to that point is pure speculation.”

Dr Sargeant also warned people that despite the relaxation of social distancing rules for Christmas, people should not put loved ones at risk.

He said: “Even though certain things might be permitted it may not be in your best interest.

“There may be some families that could bring together three households but they choose not to because they have had discussions, looked at their individual circumstances and decided it would not be safe to do so.

“Have those serious discussions with your family and decide what is best, what is safest to give people a chance to have the Christmas they want to have but in a way that ensures that infections are not passed on, particularly to the most vulnerable.”

Superintendent Mike Walker, lead for North Yorkshire Police’s Covid response, told the forum that a further 52 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued in the Scarborough borough in the last week for breaches of the lockdown rules, following on from 40 on the coast the previous week.