A message from the Leader of Northants CC:
We’re now in December, the last month of 2020 and the final month of what for most of us has been the strangest and most challenging year of our lives. As we approach Christmas, I’m sure you’ll agree how different everything seems this year to last.
Plans have now been put in place for what rules will be when we come out of lockdown on December 2 and enter a Tier 2 High risk phase, and even though we now have a light on the horizon in the form of a vaccine for Covid-19, it’s still important that we do our bit and protect each other from the spread of the virus.
We must continue to follow the rules to help get this deadly virus under control. This is about protecting our family, friends and loved ones, especially the older family members and those that are clinically extremely vulnerable. This is a life and death issue and the cost of people ignoring the rules is devastating. Every day in the news we are hearing about hospital admissions and deaths because of Covid and that’s no different for our county.
Normally the run up to the festive season and Christmas itself is a time when families, friends and neighbours come together and it’s a time of year we all treasure. But the reality is that we have got to make these sacrifices together. We need to make one final push through to the Spring, when hopefully we will start seeing the world return to normal.
In local government, December is also well known as being the time of year in which we set our budgets for the following financial year and this year is no different. However, there is one small change in that during this month we will see the draft budgets announced for the two new unitary authorities in the county: the North and the West.
A tremendous amount of hard work has gone into setting the draft budgets and when they are published I would urge you to have your say in the consultation, which is a vital part of the process. The transition to the two new authorities is now not far off with vesting day on April 1, 2021, with so much hard work having taken place to transform services across the county to make sure they are ready for the new organisations.
In this edition of In Northamptonshire we will take a look at the launch of the new Children’s Trust, our new Construction Skills Training Programme and how you can take part in the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Adults Board survey.
Finally I wish you all a very happy Christmas and let’s hope that 2021 will be better for everyone.
Stay safe and stay well.
Councillor Matt Golby
Leader of Northamptonshire County Council
A message from Lucy Wightman
Director of Public Health, Northamptonshire County Council:
I am writing to you directly, as we enter the winter period, to inform you of the current situation relating to Coronavirus in Northamptonshire and specifically the areas in which you live. I’m also hoping to share some key tips to help you and your families stay safe during the winter period and how to access support if you need to self-isolate, if you become unwell, or if you require help with shopping, medication or loneliness.
We are currently seeing the largest rise in cases in Northamptonshire since the first national lockdown. Positive cases range across all age groups, but significantly are largest in the age groups from 10 to 59. We know that these age groups are amongst the most sociable, go to school, university or work, and may be involved in the care of others, children and/or older people.
Worryingly, we are also seeing a rise in cases amongst those aged over 60. This age group is the group that are most likely to become severely unwell should they get Coronavirus, they may need to stay in hospital and sadly, as we are starting to see once again, more of this age group are likely to die from the virus.
Transmission can easily spread within families, especially where children and parents mix with grandparents and particularly in indoor settings. Whilst we recognise the importance of social interaction, we would recommend that if you have to work with or care for someone who is older or more vulnerable, or if you ordinarily mix with grandparents, that you consider reducing your social contacts elsewhere, or move your interactions with those older, more vulnerable contacts to an online format where possible during the winter period.
The introduction of recent national lockdown guidance will help us to reduce community transmission of the virus. Community transmission is where the virus spreads in households with people mixing in indoor spaces in particular. We would recommend that where anyone enters your home, or you theirs, for example for childcare purposes, that everyone wears a face covering, maintains a two metre social distance, and keeps interactions as short as possible. Continue to wash your hands regularly and clean any surfaces or contact points such as door handles, cupboard handles and taps.
If you have any concerns about whether you may have COVID19, how to get a test, how to get more support for someone who is vulnerable or the current guidance and what you can and cannot do, visit the County Council website: https://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-updates/Pages/default.aspx
We all need to work hard to ensure that case numbers reduce in our local area, to ensure that we keep the people we love safe, and so that we can return to a more normal way of living as soon as possible when the national measures come to an end. We are all in this together and all of our actions contribute to the outcomes we face. Let’s continue to work together, to wash our hands regularly, to wear our face coverings and to keep two metres from others.
Director of Public Health, Northamptonshire County Council