Meeting this week on rise in Covid cases in South Tyneside to discuss whether new restrictions are needed

A surge in Covid cases could see South Tyneside hit with new restrictions this week – although borough chiefs hope it won’t be necessary.

Concerns have been raised after the rate of positive tests more than quadrupled in the space of a week and tripled the week after.

But bosses hope the rise, which came from an already low base, could be an isolated spike which will not require major efforts to squash.

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“The [Covid-19 Leadership Board] is overseeing our response and we have a meeting later this week to discuss the increase,” said Tom Hall, director of public health at South Tyneside Council.

Coronavirus cases have risen significantly in South Tyneside in recent weeks.Coronavirus cases have risen significantly in South Tyneside in recent weeks.
Coronavirus cases have risen significantly in South Tyneside in recent weeks.

“If we feel we need to call on additional intervention measures we will do that, we have additional powers now which mean we can take extra interventions locally.

“But I would also say we compare with other areas of the North East and we’re not a particular outlier.”

He added: “We’re monitoring closely but we’re not quite at the stage yet to see additional lockdown measures.”

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Mr Hall was speaking at a meeting of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating and Call-in Committee on Tuesday, September 1, which was held remotely and broadcast via YouTube.

According to a report for the panel, the weekly rate of positive coronavirus tests per 100,000 people in the borough stood at just 2.66 on August 21.

But by Friday August 28, just a week later, it had surged to 11.31.

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The latest numbers represented a sharp rise compared to other North East areas, which saw relatively small changes to their weekly rates.

It saw the borough climb to the third highest in the region, behind Newcastle and Middlesbrough, whereas the week before it had been second bottom, behind Darlington.

But South Tyneside still remains behind other English hotspots such as Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield.

Outlining possible factors behind the figures, Hall added: “I think there is a general feeling we’re out of lockdown.

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People are starting to socialise more and get back to work, things like Eat Out to Help Out have encouraged people to go out more.

“It’s about getting the balancing act right, so people know the risk is still out there and we make sure we protect the most vulnerable, particularly in care homes.

“I think we will be in a different context again in September and we need to monitor closely and react as things arise.”

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Read more: The latest case numbers in South Tyneside as figures rise across the ...

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