Health leaders in Cumbria are urging the public to stay at home this weekend to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The call comes after national debate this week about what people are and are not allowed to do under lockdown.
They are stressing that following the ‘stay at home’ and social distancing guidance is the single most important thing people can do prevent the NHS being overwhelmed and save lives, with the risk that if people do not then the pandemic will last longer and cause further deaths.
Official figures show that 58 people have died across Cumbria’s two NHS Trust areas*.
Professor John Howarth, Strategic Incident Commander for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“I can’t thank our communities enough for listening to the guidance to stay at home. We need to break the chain of transmission of this virus in our local communities.
“I know it is hard and many people are making difficult sacrifices but the message from me today is that you are saving lives now, right here in Cumbria, through your actions.
“Staying at home slows the transmission of coronavirus, and helps us reduce the number of cases we expect to see in the coming weeks and months.
“It’s important that everyone continues to follow this advice by staying at home and if you have to go out for essential purposes, please follow the guidance on social distancing.”
Dr Shahedal Bari, Medical Director, UHMBT who is also a Respiratory Consultant said: “All the Government messages have asked people to stay at home and only leave if they are unable to work from home, need essential shopping, are caring for someone vulnerable or are exercising. Staying at home will save more lives and helps the NHS to care for those who need our help so please stay at home.”
Colin Cox, Director of Public Health, said: “I understand that some people might be getting frustrated by the current restrictions, but I cannot stress strongly enough that people should do the right thing and really limit their movement and contact with other people. There are some encouraging early signs that social distancing is having the effect we want, and that the spread of the virus may be slowing down. It’s not easy, but it’s a small sacrifice when set against the chance of spreading infection and people becoming seriously ill.
“This is about not pushing the limits of what the law permits, it’s about people acting responsibly and working together to protect their communities.”
Richard Leaf, Chief Executive Officer of the Lake District National Park Authority, said: “The residents of the Lake District need the Great British Public to respect Government advice. Please do not travel to the National Park. An influx of day trippers coming into the park will inevitably mean people coming into close contact and we really should be avoiding that. Enjoy your weekends at home, the Lake District will be here for you when this is all over.”
Richard Warren, representing the twelve Cumbrian mountain rescue teams said: “We cannot stress enough the importance of staying at home. Last weekend across the whole of England and Wales there were only four callouts, with just one in Cumbria. The fells remain quiet and we thank the public for heading the advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save the lives.”
*Note that some of the deaths reported for UHMBT will be of people living in North Lancashire rather than Cumbria.