New advice has been rolled out across the county today advising anyone in Cumbria not to meet with more than one other household at a time.
The advice — in addition to the rule of six, prohibiting groups of more than this meeting indoors or outdoors, by law — is a response to the almost doubling of the number of COVID-19 cases in the county over the past week.
Eden has now had 259 confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak and 46 deaths (487 per 100,000 population).
Eden District Council’s housing and health portfolio holder, Judith Derbyshire, said: “While confirmed infection rates in Eden remain low, we must acknowledge that residents in our district move frequently across the county for work, education and social reasons.
“We are not immune to the risks of coronavirus and must take action now to prevent the spread of infection in our communities.
“This new guidance has been issued, ahead of the potential introduction of new government imposed restrictions, in order to protect the people of Cumbria and in the hope of preventing the need for another lockdown, with the devastating damage that would wreak on our local economy.
“I urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the new guidelines and to adhere to them, immediately.”
Cumbria’s director of public health, Colin Cox, said: “The number of COVID-19 cases in the county has doubled in a week and hospitalisations are increasing.
“But we are not yet in the position of other areas in the North West and we have a small window of opportunity to act to slow the spread, protect our communities and local economy, and avoid becoming the next area in local lockdown.
“We know that limiting contact between households can reduce transmission.
“The two-households advice we’re issuing today doesn’t have the force of law behind it, but we’re calling on everyone living in Cumbria to take it seriously and act accordingly.
“This is about local people taking responsible, proportionate, action to protect themselves, their families and their communities from this disease.
“We can see now that the virus is spreading through the county with increasing speed, following the same pattern from the first wave, with almost all districts reporting increased cases.
“Without action we can expect the number of cases, disruption to schools and businesses, hospitalisations and ultimately deaths to continue to rise. Following the ‘two-households’ advice, alongside hand washing, face coverings and social distancing, can make a difference, but we need everyone to take heed and act.”
The new advice was agreed by local political leaders through the county’s Area Outbreak Board, following recommendations from the multi-agency Health Protection Board.
It will be reviewed on an weekly basis.
The same advice has been in place for the Barrow Borough Council area — which is now on the Government’s area’s of concern list — since 17th September.
The COVID-19 situation report for Cumbria shows a total of 11,358 tests were carried out in the past week — a slight decrease from the previous week.
- 209 new cases were reported in Cumbria (compared to 109 cases in previous week);
- For the fourth consecutive week Barrow-in-Furness had the greatest number of new cases (+61 new cases), followed by Carlisle (+49 new cases);
- Barrow-in-Furness also had the highest rate of new cases (+61 new cases = 91 new cases per 100k population), well above the national average (England = 57 new cases per 100k);
- The number of new cases increased from the previous week in all Cumbrian districts except Eden, with Carlisle experiencing a particularly large increase;
- The greatest number of new positive cases are those aged 15-29 years, however, cases are increasing across most age groups.
- 19 care homes currently have positive COVID-19 cases, (including five homes with one or more residents testing positive).
- 27 schools currently dealing with positive cases (1 confirmed case per setting), and six dealing with outbreaks (2 or more confirmed cases per setting).
- 170 cases have been dealt with by local contact tracers, with 374 contacts traced.