Published: Wednesday, 11th November 2020
People across west Norfolk are being urged to do their bit to protect each other, and help our area emerge in a good position from lockdown.
With Covid-19 cases rising in our district, local people are being asked to each play their part by following the rules – helping their neighbours, families, friends, communities, and themselves to stay safe.
Councillor Stuart Dark MBE, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Public Protection said: “We have already seen what a difference we can make when we work together, as all of us did at the start of the crisis earlier this year.
“Now we need to do it again, west Norfolk. Please follow the rules. What you do today will have an impact tomorrow and will determine how we emerge from lockdown when the national restrictions end.
“What we do in the next few weeks is crucial. We must act together to make a difference now, to drive the numbers of cases down. Every little action that each of us takes will add up to a big shift.
“We can influence the tier that west Norfolk will be placed in and the rules that we will face when we come out of the national restrictions. But only if each of us acts together.
“If we each play our part, together, as west Norfolk, we can make the difference and help to stop the spread of coronavirus in our area.”
Councillor Dark’s comments were echoed by James Wild MP for North West Norfolk who said: “No one wanted to have national restrictions and I know how challenging they are but with increasing rates they are necessary for a limited time to prevent QEH and local NHS services from being unable to cope.
“Everyone in west Norfolk can play their part now by following the rules to bring infection rates under control so that when the national restrictions end Norfolk can go back to fewer restrictions on our way of life.”
They were also supported by Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health who said: “Rates of coronavirus in west Norfolk have continued to climb over the last week and we can’t link this to any one outbreak in a factory or other setting – it is likely that the virus is being spread in the community.
“We are seeing more admissions to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and very sadly we are seeing an increase in the number of people dying as a result of this disease. The people of west Norfolk have pulled together throughout this pandemic and it’s only by working together again that we will bring down rates of the virus and protect King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.
“Please follow the restrictions – stay home as much as possible, wash your hands, make space and wear a face covering where needed.”
The new national restrictions are in place until 2nd December and are designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and the impact of this on the NHS. Caroline Shaw, Chief Executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is also asking the public to do everything they can to help west Norfolk during this crucial period of time:
Caroline said: “The Trust is doing everything it can to safely care for our patients this winter but we really need our local community to help us by playing their part. This includes getting a flu jab if you are eligible for one and following the Government guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks. These actions will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as flu, both of which will reduce pressure on beds at QEH and our staff.
“There are many ways patients can access care this winter – local pharmacists can provide advice on medicines and care for the common cold and very minor injuries, GPs should be the first port of call for longer term issues while our hospital is there for urgent, life-threatening conditions like suspected stroke, heart attack or for suspected fractures and wounds that won’t stop bleeding. Choosing the right service will ensure patients can get the care they need quickly.”
Inspector Mark Askham also urged west Norfolk to take the steps necessary to protect the area: “It has been a tough year for our communities in West Norfolk. People have fundamentally changed the way they carry out everyday life and we recognise the huge challenge and sacrifice this continues to bring.
“We now find ourselves seven months into the pandemic and in a second national lockdown and it is so important that each of us play our part in tackling the virus and reducing the spread. People know what the risks are and what is expected of them in relation to the rules. Officers will look to engage and establish people’s circumstances in a fair, sensible and proportionate manner. That said, for the small minority who breach the rules, they can expect a fixed penalty notice and a fine.
“Now is not the time for complacency and we must all play our part by following the rules. We will continue to provide a first-class service to our communities and do everything we can to get us through this crisis.”
West Norfolk residents are being reminded of how vital it is to minimise contact with each other, for example, in busy places such as school drop-offs and pick-ups.
And, it is also vital that anyone required to self-isolate – if they have Covid-19 symptoms or have received a positive test result, or lives with someone who has coronavirus – does so.
The comments came as the latest support is announced to help businesses and communities through the restrictions. This includes:
• Grants will be available for businesses who are closed for ‘in person’ services with the amount of the grant dependent on the rateable value of the business on the date lockdown started. An application process will be in place for the grants, and businesses will need to complete the form to confirm they are eligible for the grant, including declaring that they have been legally required to close. The form will be found here shortly: https://www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/homepage/326/council-service-updates
• The Borough Council will also be extending their support offer through Lily to vulnerable residents of west Norfolk. Anyone can refer to Lily and individuals can self-refer. Lily works closely with partner charities in west Norfolk to provide the most appropriate support to individuals. Lily also works with Voluntary Norfolk to co-ordinate any volunteer provisions for residents. More information can be found here: www.asklily.org.uk
• The borough council will be using the grounds of North Lynn Community Centre for the provision of emergency accommodation throughout the winter. The accommodation will consist of six self-contained welfare cabins which will be delivered to the site on Monday 9th November 2020. The site will be supervised by security 24/7. There will also be four additional pods located in South Lynn.
• Whilst Alive West Norfolk sites have closed during the national restrictions, people in west Norfolk can still stay fit thanks to Alive’s Active at Home online fitness classes: https://www.alivewestnorfolk.co.uk/active-at-home/
Lorraine Gore, Chief Executive of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk said: “Working with Norfolk Public Health and our partners, our priority over the next few weeks is giving west Norfolk all the support and assistance we can to help us get through this period of national restrictions and to put west Norfolk in the best place possible for whatever tier restrictions will apply after this period.
“As a resident of the borough myself and with friends and family living locally I am as passionate as I know the rest of the west Norfolk community is to work together to do everything we can to protect ourselves, protect each other and protect west Norfolk.
“We will be talking to our high schools and the College of West Anglia as our young people, I am sure, are as concerned as the rest of our community to get through this crisis. They have an important role in helping us protect west Norfolk and we know that many young people have, and continue to, make efforts to help to stop the spread of the virus.
“We have been focused on understanding the guidance, adapting our services, and responding to the needs of the community so not only can we provide additional support, but we can also keep our usual council services going.
“We know that this is a very challenging time for everyone – not least local businesses – and I want to assure everyone in west Norfolk that we will do everything we can to help you to get through this crisis. But it’s so important that we all act together to stop the spread of the virus.”
Councillor Dark added: “By working together, by all of us doing our bit, I know that we can help to stop the spread and keep ourselves and those we care about safe. All our actions matter because all of our actions combined will make a difference.
“We know that so many of you – like us – love West Norfolk. And now is our time to show our love for our special part of the world by doing everything we can to stop the spread of the virus. Let’s protect ourselves, protect each other, and protect west Norfolk.”
West Norfolk, let’s stop the spread of coronavirus together:
• Stay at home as much as you can;
• Don’t meet people indoors;
• Only meet one person outside,
• Only make essential journeys;
• Remember: hands, face, space;
• Self-isolate if you have Covid-19 symptoms or have received a positive test result, or live with someone who has coronavirus.