Coronavirus Update – Stoke-on-Trent City Council 11/August/2021

This update includes what to expect when visiting and using some of our council services:

  • Covid-19 rates in Stoke-on-Trent
  • Vaccination update
  • Pop-up testing and doorstep testing
  • Self-isolation guidance from 16 August 

  • £41m in grants to businesses since last November to help them through the pandemic

  • Public health guidance

Covid-19 rates in Stoke-on-Trent

The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 259.8 per 100,000 people, for the week 30 July – 5 August 2021. This is a 1.3 per cent decrease on the previous seven days. The positivity rate or the percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 8.5 per cent.

As of Monday, our case rate was 111th in England, out of 342 local authority areas, and below the England average of 287 cases per 100,000 population. Our case rate was the ninth highest in the West Midlands, out of 14 local authority areas, and below the West Midlands average of 265 cases per 100,000 population.

However, our cases are still high, and infection rates are beginning to creep up again. We expect that case rates could rise to around 300 per 100,000 population by the end of the week, and we would another rise in cases with the further easing of lockdown restrictions from next Monday (16 August) and the return of unrestricted crowds to football matches and other sporting events.

At 260 cases we are currently twelve times higher than when we became an area of concern last summer. There are currently 56 people in hospital locally with Covid, and half of them are on the critical care ward, some fighting for their life. 

Nationally case rates have plateaued, and it is noticeable that cases are higher in some coastal areas and in some larger cities, now that the holidays and summer are here. It is concerning that the number of tests being completed is continuing to fall. This figure is now just below 25,000 tests a day, whereas this time last month it was consistently above 35,000 tests a day. We urge people to continue to get tested and to record their results.

We can all help to drive our rates down by continuing to follow the public health advice and to keep regularly testing ourselves. However, the best way of all that we can help to protect ourselves and others around us is to get vaccinated and encourage all our family, friends and colleagues to do the same if they are eligible. The vaccine does not eliminate completely the chance of getting Covid but it does offer a huge protective effect by reducing at least eight-fold your chance of catching it, the severity of illness if you do get it, the chance of having to go into hospital if you do and ultimately the risk of dying. 


testing regularly protects us all


Vaccination update

Vaccination walk-in clinics

Anybody who is eligible for their Covid-19 jab is welcome, and no appointment is needed. The latest details for this week’s clinics are:

Date and time: Wednesday 11 August, 4-6pm and Friday 13 August, 3-5pm

Location: Norfolk Street Surgery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4PB

For: Pfizer, first and second doses, and AstraZeneca second doses

Please keep checking this link for the latest information on other walk-ins across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Please note that all second doses are only available after eight-plus weeks of your first vaccination. If you attend a walk-in clinic before the eight weeks, you will be turned away.

Pregnant women are being urged to get their COVID-19 vaccination

NHS England’s Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, is urging expectant mums to get the Covid-19 vaccine. This comes as data shows that since May, just three women had been admitted after having their first vaccine. In contrast, almost all (98 per cent of) pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 had not been jabbed. Covid-19 vaccines are our best defences against the virus and offer us the best protection. Whether you’re pregnant, think you might be, or you are trying for a baby, we encourage you to take up the offer of a vaccine to help protect yourselves and your babies.

If you have any concerns, please speak to a health professional such as your midwife.

Pregnant women and vaccines


Pop-up testing and doorstep testing

Our pop-up testing centres offer lateral flow tests where people who don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 can get a test which gives results in just over 30 minutes. No appointment is needed for these testing centres and anybody who isn’t showing COVID-19 symptoms is welcome. You can also pick up home testing kits.

Our teams were out again at Tunstall Park yesterday (Tuesday), at the bandstand and spoke to lots of families and visitors enjoying the facilities. Our Covid stewards and public health teams are out today supporting Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust professionals in the latest week of our doorstep testing arrangements.

The teams are in Etruria and Hanley between 12pm and 4pm, and will be calling on 270 homes. Last week they were in Sneyd Green and handed out hundreds of home testing kits to residents.

We’re visiting households and areas of the city where testing rates have been low and COVID-19 rates have been historically high. We’re doing this to help support residents and protect communities from the virus. The teams will provide households with lateral flow testing kits, offer advice on how to use the kits, and answer any questions residents may have. The new venture is all about taking testing directly to people and being able to have conversations with residents, and to continue to raise awareness of the importance of testing.

Westport Lake pop up testing


Self-isolation guidance from 16 August

Under step four of the government’s coronavirus roadmap, changes to self-isolation rules are set to be introduced from next Monday (16 August). We wait to see if the government will make any changes to these plans, and if it doesn’t, it will mean that:

  • Double-vaccinated people will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
  • Young people aged under 18 will be exempt from isolating if they are a close contact, as part of plans to ensure they can make the most of their education as restrictions continue to ease.

Double-vaccinated people and under 18s identified as close contacts will continue to be advised to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern. Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status.

The NHS COVID-19 app will update in August in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.

Face coverings crowded places


£41m in grants to businesses since last November to help them through the pandemic

The government has announced that coronavirus grants to businesses to help them through successive lockdowns over the past 18 months have now ended.

The council has administered a number of different grants since last November to get money out as quickly as possible to businesses affected by the pandemic. This has provided a financial lifeline to many hundreds of local companies. Since 1 November 2020, a total of £41,066,297.51 has been paid to businesses in the city in both mandatory and discretionary grants. A total of 15,672 individual payments to businesses have been made. It has been a huge logistical operation and the payments have made a big difference to businesses in the city.

The council is now experiencing a large number of applications for Test and Trace Support Payments from residents who are isolating. These are payments of £500 for people on a low income who meet eligibility criteria. More details on this can be found on our website: www.stoke.gov.uk. In the past month we have received an unprecedented number of applications. We have had around 1,500 applications in a month, compared to just over 6,000 total number of applications since the scheme began in September 2020. That means around a quarter of all applications have come in the past month. We are working to respond to everybody, and have put in extra staff to help to meet the demand, but ask that residents please bear with us while we work through this.


Testing phone


Public health guidance

Although measures such as social distancing and wearing face coverings are not mandatory now, it doesn’t mean that we still can’t use them. Choosing to follow the guidance and continuing to wear a face covering, and also getting regular COVID-19 tests and your vaccine when you are called are our best defences against the spread of the virus. We recognise that these are very personal choices and therefore we encourage all residents to make the best decision for themselves and their loved ones.

Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air – these are simple measures we can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Following these will also help to drive down the city’s case rates:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly with warm water soap for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’). You can also use hand sanitisers while you’re out and about.
  • Face – Wear a face covering in crowded places, such as while using pubic transport, unless you are medically exempt.
  • Space – Keep a one-metre distance from people you are not meeting with.
  • Fresh Air – Meet up with others outside where you can or if you are inside, make sure the rooms are well ventilated, for example, open a window. Fresh air is known to lower the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

COVID-19 is passed through close contact, so practising Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air wherever you can- including in your own and other peoples’ homes – will help stop it from spreading.

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