Middlesbrough will receive extra national support to tackle the very high levels of Covid-19 in the community. The Department of Health and Social Care will confirm the town will become an ‘enhanced response area’. All 12 councils in the North East – including the other four council areas in the Tees Valley – have been included.
What is an enhanced response area?
Areas with rising numbers of Covid cases are offered a support package by the government to help quickly and cautiously slow its growth, and allow time for more people to get both vaccinations.
What could the support include?
In other parts of the country where enhanced support has been offered, the Department for Health and Social Care has provided the option to deliver surge testing within targeted areas, with the potential for door-to-door tests. Logistical support will also be available, to maximise vaccine uptake.
Is this a 'local lockdown'?
Are there any new rules, or restrictions on travel?
On Monday 19 July, many of the England’s remaining Covid-19 laws were removed by the government. No new legal restrictions will be introduced as a result of Middlesbrough being named an area of enhanced support, and there is no new guidance on travel.
Get the latest information about what you can and cannot do on GOV.UK.
Do we still have to wear face coverings?
Laws which mandated the need for face coverings in public, indoor settings were removed on Monday 19 July.
However, national and local leaders have stressed the importance of wearing a face covering in crowded areas and on public transport, to try and curb transmission of coronavirus.
Many businesses still ask customers to wear face coverings.
What will change now Middlesbrough is an enhanced response area?
We are still working with the Government and Public Health England to determine how to best use the additional help.
How long will Middlesbrough be an enhanced response area?
The support will last for five weeks, with a review after four weeks. More details are expected in the coming days.
How can I play my part?
While legal restrictions were removed on Monday 19 July, the risk from Covid-19 has not disappeared.
Covid vaccines have weakened the link between infections and people getting very ill, but with such high case numbers in Middlesbrough, local hospitals are beginning to feel the strain once again.
Everyone over the age of 18, living and working in Middlesbrough, is strongly encouraged to:
- Get vaccinated. If you’ve not had your first dose, visit a walk-in clinic as soon as you can. If you had your first dose more than eight weeks ago, get your second dose as soon as possible. You do not have to wait to be contacted.
- Don’t leave the house if you feel unwell.
- Take a rapid test often, even if you don’t have symptoms. One in three cases are asymptomatic (don’t have symptoms). You can order lateral flow tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies.
- Take a rapid test often, even if you’ve had one or both doses of your Covid vaccine. You can order lateral flow tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies.
- If you develop symptoms, book a PCR Covid test.
- Self-isolate if you receive a positive result.
- Download the NHS Covid 19 app, check in to venues, and isolate if asked to do so by the app.
- Meet outdoors as much as possible. If you meet indoors, ensure it is well-ventilated by opening doors and windows.
- Wear a face covering on public transport or in crowded areas.
Which other areas are in this category?
The entire north east has been added to the enhanced support list due to its high rates of Covid. It includes Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Darlington in the Tees Valley.
Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham councils have also been added to the list today.
Middlesbrough has been identified for extra support through the combination of Covid data and local insight. The Department for Health and Social Care look at statistics such as how quickly people are catching the virus, and assess the capacity in the local NHS. Decisions on offering areas this enhanced support are taken by Government ministers.
What is the current Covid rate in Middlesbrough?
The town’s rate went past its highest ever previous level two weeks ago, and has risen sharply since then. So far this week (week beginning Monday 19 July) the rate peaked at 1,421 cases per 100,000 on Wednesday.
How many people have been vaccinated?
Figures up to Sunday 18 July show that around 19,000 eligible under-40s in Middlesbrough are still to come forward for a jab.
Walk-in vaccination slots are available on Saturday in both North Ormesby and Thorntree, and throughout the rest of July and into August.
Full details can be found on the Tees Valley CCG website.
You can also book your vaccination online.
Can I get help to self-isolate?
The government has introduced a scheme to help people who will struggle financially if they need to self-isolate. Anyone eligible for the scheme will get a £500 payment. The scheme will run until 30 September 2021. Find out more on the Test and Trace self-isolation payment page.