Support our local NHS services by sticking to Tier 4 rules this New Year

Published

It's now more important than ever to comply with Tier 4 rules in order to support NHS services under significant strain.

With Covid-19 spreading fast and cases at record levels both in Suffolk and across the country, the Suffolk Resilience Forum is reminding residents to continue playing their part in driving down infection levels. By following Tier 4 rules, we can reduce pressure on local health and social care services.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum, which is the multi-agency group comprising Suffolk’s local authorities, police, health and supporting agencies, is encouraging everyone to see in the New Year safely at home with their own household or support bubble and continue to follow the rules into January.

Latest figures from CoronaWatch show that there are 327 people being treated for Covid-19 in Suffolk’s hospitals (as of December 30), compared to 277 at the same point the previous week (18% increase).

The average weekly case per 100k in Suffolk is 261.3 – a 32% increase from December 23. At the moment, Suffolk is seeing an average of 370 new cases a day, with forecasting predicting that cases could double by mid-January to reach 400 cases per 100,000 (currently 222.6).

Rachel Kearton, Suffolk’s deputy chief constable and Covid-19 response lead for the Suffolk Resilience Forum, said:

“Suffolk is at a critical point in the fight against Covid-19.

“We urge people to abide by the Tier 4 restrictions in order to do all they can to protect themselves, their families and the NHS.

“This week we have all seen the reports about the pressures hospitals, doctors, nurses and staff are under. They need us all to be responsible and to do the right thing. We should all stay local, work from home where possible, and only go out for essential journeys.

“From a policing perspective officers will continue to engage, educate and explain the restrictions to people who mistakenly contravene them. However, where there is a blatant disregard for the regulations we will enforce the law.”

Cllr Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council and chair of the Suffolk’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said:

“With the new vaccines, there is reason to be hopeful for 2021.

“But for now, infection rates are at unprecedented levels in Suffolk and there is growing demand on our hospitals and social care settings.

“The steps we take now are critical. Suffolk needs you to play your part and do all we can to keep ourselves and our friends, family and neighbours safe.”

The key advice remains ‘hands, face, space’ – washing your hands regularly, covering your face in enclosed spaces and social distancing from anyone you do not live with or who isn’t in your support bubble is vital.

If you have any coronavirus symptoms, such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you must self-isolate straight away and get a test. You must continue to isolate if you test positive or are told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

While health services are under pressure at the moment, health and care leaders say it is vital local people continue using health services in the usual way. Clinicians are reminding individuals requiring urgent or emergency care they should attend their nearest hospital. GP surgeries remain open as normal in tier 4, with remote consultations available. They also urge people to visit their local pharmacy or to call NHS 111 or visit NHS 111 Online if they are feeling unwell.

Neill Moloney, Deputy Chief Executive at East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation NHS Trust, said:

“Wave two of this pandemic has once again seen a fall in people accessing NHS services for a range of conditions that are not related to coronavirus.

“If you have symptoms that indicate serious conditions, please go to hospital as normal. If you are not seriously unwell please consider alternatives such as GPs, contacting NHS 111 or visiting your pharmacist. Accessing services in this way will allow us to work in the most effective way possible for the communities we serve.”

Under Tier 4 people cannot leave their homes unless there is a reasonable excuse. People cannot meet others indoors unless part of the same household or support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.

Those who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable should not go to work and should limit time outside of their homes. Tier 4 residents must not stay overnight away from home and cannot travel abroad.