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Protect your loved ones amid rising COVID-19 cases

Target with local covid alert level medium - reminding that you must only meet in groups of 6, follow social distancing when you meet and work from home if possible

Bracknell Forest residents are being urged to make sure they are doing everything possible to protect their family and friends from COVID-19 amid rising infection rates in the borough.

Like most places across the country, the number of cases in the borough has risen sharply in the past few weeks. Data shows that most people in Bracknell Forest are catching the virus from their family and friends.

Very few people in the borough are catching the virus from leisure, hospitality or recreation facilities like restaurants, pubs and gyms. The majority of the spread is coming from household transmission, with people catching it from their close friends and relatives.

Recent data also shows that women and men are testing positive for the virus at roughly the same rate. Importantly though, although the elderly are more vulnerable if they do catch the virus, it is no longer an illness that is confined to the young and very old. People aged 18 to 34 account for 45% of people testing positive locally, followed by people aged 35 to 64 (37%).

Bracknell Forest is rated at tier 1 ‘medium risk’ from COVID-19, with a current transmission rate of just under 60 per 100,000. This is a much lower rate than the England average and nearby neighbouring boroughs. However, the rising number of positive tests is a cause for concern and something the council is keen to work with residents to reduce.

Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker, Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said:

“By working together and sticking to the rules we collectively managed to keep the infection rate very low in the borough through the summer.

“However, like most places across the country, the number of people testing positive is now rising sharply and so we must all do everything possible to protect our loved ones.

“Data shows that we are spreading this serious virus to our friends and family, with the majority of the borough’s positive cases being spread between households. In the main, people in Bracknell Forest are not catching it from restaurants, gyms, leisure facilities, shops or other facilities. They are catching it when they visit someone’s home or when someone visits theirs.

“We need to stop the spread, we need to do it together and we need to do it now. That means keeping your distance from your loved ones unless they are in your direct household, sticking slavishly to the rule of 6, wearing a face covering when you can’t keep a safe 2 metre distance and washing your hands regularly.

“Given the rate of infection, we know that tighter restrictions will be inevitable across most areas of the country. But to protect the ones we love and ourselves we have to take responsibility for our actions, that way we can slow the spread together.

While Bracknell Forest is currently categorised as tier 1 ‘medium risk’ the current rate of infection suggests that it will follow others in being categorised as tier 2 ‘high risk’ within weeks if the spread isn’t slowed down.

You can find information about tier 1 ‘medium risk' on GOV.UK.

Help reduce the spread

To help reduce the spread it is important for all residents to follow the hands, face space rules:

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

It is also important to follow the rule of 6.

When seeing friends and family you do not live with (or who are not part of your support bubble), you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. In England, this limit of 6 includes children of any age.

Meeting in larger groups is against the law apart from specific exceptions where people from different households can gather in groups larger than 6 people.

When meeting friends and family you should also:

  • follow social distancing rules when you meet up
  • limit how many different people in total you see socially over any short period of time
  • meet people outdoors where practical: this is safer because fresh air provides better ventilation

Find out more about the tier system on GOV.UK