Covid secure team launched to combat rise in coronavirus cases across Oxfordshire

The Cherwell district area along with the whole of Oxfordshire have seen an increase in Covid-19 cases over the past week.

By Matt Elofson
Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 1:34 pm
The Cherwell district area along with the whole of Oxfordshire have seen an increase in Covid-19 cases over the past week.
The Cherwell district area along with the whole of Oxfordshire have seen an increase in Covid-19 cases over the past week.

With an increase to 56 cases for the seven days leading up to October 2 it brings the Cherwell district area into the amber alert status.

Both the city of Oxford and the Oxfordshire County have seen increases in Covid cases bringing them into the red alert status.

There were a total of 352 Covid cases for Oxfordshire County with an increase of 152 new cases from the previous week. The city of Oxford had 56 Covid cases for the seven day period leading up to October 2.

Ongoing discussions are taking place locally, regionally and nationally in regards the number of Covid-19 cases in Oxford and Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health Director Ansaf Azhar said: “Numbers have risen all over the nation following the technical glitch in recording cases at national level and the situation a week ago and before. There are other parts of the country with cases that are in the 300-500 cases per 100,000 range. That’s well above Oxford and Oxfordshire generally.

“Although Oxford’s case rate has risen a lot as a result of the much-reported national issues, the city is ranked 67th in the country. The cases remain predominantly in the 18-24 age range.

“For now the strong message from me remains to ask people to take responsibility for their own actions as families, individuals, colleagues and neighbours.

"Keep a distance, wash your hands, wear a face covering and observe the rule of six. The only way we can drive down the number of COVID cases is through collective action on the part of everyone of all ages.”

Cherwell district officers will now be working as part of a new county-wide Covid secure team in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Local businesses will be receiving extra support in ensuring they are compliant with new coronavirus rules from the new county-wide COVID secure team.

The team, which is a joint initiative by all Oxfordshire councils, and backed by Government funding, looks to ensure that businesses are complying with the rules, to give the public much-needed peace of mind when out and about.

New penalties for breaking the coronavirus rules have come into force nationally, with fines of up to £10,000 for rule breakers. Fines for not wearing masks or not following rules have increased to £200 for the first offence.

The team will be working across Oxfordshire, alongside the existing city and district environmental health teams. Where data shows an emerging risk in a locality, the team will prioritise that area, increasing the impact of local intervention measures.

They will be out and about across the county to ensure that local businesses are continuing to properly abide by regulations, such as the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants.

Where necessary, the team will be able to take enforcement action against those who do not comply, with the support of Thames Valley Police.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, lead member for health and wellbeing at Cherwell District Council, said: “This new COVID Secure Team builds on council officers’ local knowledge and expertise to make sure residents and businesses are in no doubt about what they need to do to stop the spread of the virus.

“The team will be a firm but friendly presence; they are there to inform and advise in the instance, but we take the risk coronavirus poses extremely seriously and people who fail to respect the rules will be left in no doubt that we are ready to use these new powers if necessary.”