Joint statement from David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, and Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council.
It has been announced that Hertfordshire, as a whole, has been placed as a medium-risk area in the government's new system of Local COVID-19 Alert Levels.
This means that Hertfordshire is currently rated in Tier One - the medium alert level. Despite this, we have seen a significant rise in positive cases of coronavirus in our county over the last 10 days and the situation here remains serious. There is no room for complacency.
So we're urging all of our residents to act now to avoid our county moving to high-risk status for which there will be stricter, tougher measures introduced.
We are properly prepared, and have a detailed plan in place to deal with each scenario. But now is the time to redouble our efforts to keep the virus at bay. We understand that many of our residents have been playing their part by following the government guidelines, particularly on face-coverings, social-distancing, the 'rule of six', and self-isolation where necessary.
Yet, we are appealing to everyone to be even more disciplined to help us control the spread of the virus. Unless we act now, it is likely that the rate of infection will continue to rise - and that could mean further restrictions.
We want to keep you, the residents of Hertfordshire, safe while also keeping the county up-and-running to support our businesses and our economy, so we are calling on you to:
- Self-isolate if you are asked to. If you fail to do this, you are putting lives at risk and there will be increased enforcement checks by the police. We are aware of instances of people playing sports or going to work when they should have been self-isolating, and these have been linked to the spread of new cases.
- Limit the number of people you see from outside your home - otherwise you risk not being able to see those people most important to you at all.
- Keep doing the basics. Treat everyone as if they are infected - wear face-coverings where it is expected and wash your hands regularly.
Everyone must take responsibility now to lower the risks involved in all of the things we do in our day-to-day lives. Unless we do that, coronavirus could get a stronger grip than it has now.
We still have a limited window of opportunity to stay in control of the spread of the virus in Hertfordshire, rather than having stricter measures implemented. We urge all of our residents to help us make sure that is the case by following the guidance. If you keep playing your part, we can all stay safe in Hertfordshire together.