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Swale council meets with KCC's Director of Health to discuss rise of covid infections in Swale

Published Tuesday 27 October, 2020
Last updated on Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Leading members of Swale Borough Council met with Andrew Scott-Clark, Director of Public Health at Kent County Council (KCC), yesterday (26 Oct) to discuss the recorded rise of Covid infections in Swale.

On behalf of KCC - the lead authority in monitoring and controlling the spread of the virus in the county - Mr Scott-Clark confirmed that Swale had the highest level of infections in Kent at 102 per 100,000 people.

While this is still below the national average, Mr Scott-Clark explained that the virus was spreading much more seriously amongst younger people than in the first wave, and that the Isle of Sheppey had the highest levels in the borough, with some higher levels also emerging in Central Sittingbourne and Milton.

He reported that a number of cases in workplaces in Swale were a cause for concern, particularly because transmission looks to be happening outside the workplace as people socialise together. Care homes and food distribution companies are also a cause for concern.

Thankfully there are some areas of the borough with very low levels of infection and the council is working closely with KCC to keep the public properly informed.

Both the council and KCC are concerned about alarming messages being publicised in print and social media, and cabinet members are concerned that this could cause a mixture of fatigue and complacency making suppression of this second wave more difficult.

Cllr Angela Harrison, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at the council, said:

“It is of utmost importance that we do not become complacent when it comes to protecting ourselves, our families and our communities.

“Whilst we mourn every death and understand the impact it has on families, we did not suffer the same impact in the first wave as many other parts of the country.

“This second wave already suggests that we’re facing a real challenge, and we urge people to adhere to government guidelines by washing your hands frequently, wearing a face covering and remembering to maintain social distancing.

“Thankfully levels of hospitalisation are manageable for the moment, but we cannot take our NHS for granted.

“Alongside studying infection rates and levels of hospitalisation, we are also out visiting businesses to ensure they are covid compliant and sharing information and advice with them.”

Cllr Roger Truelove, leader at the council, said:

“Our officers have started compliance checks in the pubs and restaurants in our towns and have found good compliance procedures.

“Businesses have been welcoming and are clearly working very hard to keep their customers safe, however we did have some concerns about take away food businesses and will work with them to ensure they are compliant.

“We will soon be visiting rural establishments and hope for the same high standard we’ve seen so far.

“During lockdown earlier this year, we monitored the situation daily, and reported to the senior leadership team and cabinet every week to ensure we were doing everything we could to keep the residents of the borough safe, and will do the same again now that we are experiencing a second wave.

“We urge you to do your bit to limit the spread of the virus and keep your family and community safe.”