RESIDENTS across the borough could find themselves living under Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions, as infection rates continue to rise.
The borough council’s health executive says they’re keeping a watchful eye on figures, but the Government have not made contact over tier levels yet.
Over the past month, the number of people testing positive for coronavirus has been steadily increasing, although at a slower rate than other regions in the country.
Between Sunday, October 18 and Saturday, October 24, there were 171 positive cases confirmed in the borough, an increase of 53 from the previous week. This meets the one of the criteria for Tier 2 restrictions, with 100 cases per 100,000 people.
But until a decision is made in conjunction with the borough council, nothing is changing.
Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health at Wokingham Borough Council said: “You have to wait for the phone call. There are no discussion underway at the moment, and we have not had any contact from the Government about our tier level.”
Cllr Margetts said the cases per 100,000 people is only one of many criteria used to make these decisions.
“The Government hasn’t specified the exact details, but it seems to be related to level of cases, and outbreaks of a considerable size.
“Overall, our pattern of infection hasn’t changed, and 18- to 35-year-olds are the group with the highest infection rate.
“If you talk to a public health professional, they would say we are rising on a rising tide. It’s likely that discussions will take place in the near future.
“From the council, we are asking everyone to think about what they’re doing, and self-isolate properly, if asked to do so.”
Cllr John Halsall, leader of the borough council is spearheading a campaign, calling for people to think of their communities.
In It Together calls on residents to keep to the Covid-19 rules and help slow the spread of infection.
Cllr Halsall said: “Wokingham Borough Council has been proactive to protect its residents throughout the crisis and our communities and schools have responded magnificently to the challenge Covid-19 has brought.
“However, we face a threat that is not going away, in fact, it is increasing in our borough as it is elsewhere and so we will redouble our efforts and are calling on all residents to do the same: we are all in this together.
“If we all can change our behaviour and observe the rules as a matter of course we may avoid the worst. I am asking everyone to be an evangelist for these rules. In essence the virus is spread through social contact, the more you minimise social contact the less the virus will spread.”
If the borough is placed under Tier 2 restrictions, this means socialising indoors, outside of your household, social bubble or long-term relationship is banned.
Residents can still meet with others, but they must do so outdoors, and keep a two metre distance, with no more than six people meeting at one time.
Journeys should be limited where possible, but travel is still permitted to go to the shops and hospitality venues that are open. And face masks must continue to be worn.
Residents should work from home where possible, and where it isn’t possible, workplaces should be covid-secure.
Under high alert restrictions, gyms can remain open and organised sport and licensed physical activity are allowed in indoor and outdoor settings but may be subject to certain rules.
Cllr Halsall added: “The effort to control Covid-19 and support the vulnerable in the borough has been phenomenal. But the numbers are going up and there are still some people who are not following the rules – and I have to say that they are putting others at greater risk.
“We must all stick together in this – keep to the social distancing rules and, if you have to isolate, please do so.”
A mobile Covid-19 testing unit will be located at Cantley Park on Friday, November 13, Saturday, November 21 and Friday, November 27.
Tests must be pre-booked via the national website: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
Slots are allocated the day before for morning appointments or in the morning for same day afternoon appointments.
If no local appointments are available residents may be able to book a home testing kit, or find a booking at a nearby regional testing unit in Newbury or Slough.