October 23: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council's Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall.
The current COVID alert level for Stockton-on-Tees remains "high", which means a number of restrictions are in place.
This week's COVID-19 dashboard for the Borough showed there were 647 new cases for the week ending October 18, a rate of 327.8 per 100,000 population.
And although that's a small drop on the previous week, we've seen some really high daily case counts coming through this week and it's giving us real cause for concern.
It's a stark reminder that we're in a very serious situation and that we all need to do our bit to help reduce the spread of the virus in the Borough.
That means following the hand washing, face covering and social distancing guidance, and not mixing with people from other households anywhere indoors.
New business grants scheme
We have received notification this week of a new grant scheme for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in areas where the COVID alert level is "high".
The scheme is scheduled to go live from November 1 and we are putting arrangements in place to process these payments as soon as we receive the details and eligibility criteria from Government.
Recruitment of "COVID Marshals"
We're drawing up plans to recruit a team of people who will play an important role in helping keep people safe.
They will be a visible, "on the ground" presence providing advice and support to members of the public and businesses.
They will support social distancing in crowded public areas and help businesses manage queues.
They will also complement the work of our existing staff and police partners, who are already making compliance visits to businesses.
We'll be advertising these roles very soon so if you or someone you know is interested, please keep a lookout for them.
Bigger COVID-19 testing facility opening tomorrow
A new testing facility has been built in the Dairy car park in Stockton to replace the mobile testing unit that was there before.
It opens tomorrow (October 24) and will offer testing from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, and you can park on site too.
But please remember that you must book a test in advance - you can't just turn up - and you should only book a test if you have symptoms.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Alternative ways to enjoy Halloween
For obvious reasons, we don't think "trick or treating" round the doors is a good idea this Halloween.
But I'm pleased to say our libraries and Preston Park Museum are working on a range of activities you can enjoy at home instead.
Stay tuned to their social media channels for more information next week!
Remember, you can keep up with all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in the Borough, including details of the range of support available, via our webpage Stockton Borough Council.