Keep following the guidance to keep our schools open – that's the message from Brighton's Director of Public Health after rising numbers of Covid cases in children across the city.
The latest data shows that in the seven days, up to January 21 (based on data published on January 26) there were 2,718 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in Brighton and Hove.
This is up 4.5 per cent on the previous seven days and equivalent to a weekly rate of 931.7 per 100,000 residents – which is lower than the South East which was 1052.8 per 100,000 and lower than the rate for England, which was 996 per 100,000.
Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health at Brighton & Hove City Council said: “Positive cases in all school age children in Brighton & Hove are high and rising, with particularly high rates in primary children. This is also being seen across the country. With such high rates, we’re seeing absences in early years, primary and secondary aged pupils and the need for staff and parents to juggle face-to-face and remote learning.
“Everyone wants to keep children in school and keep the schools open. To do that we need to continue following the good behaviours we’ve learned and encourage, children, friends and family to do the same."
Measures that were put in place under plan B in England have now been lifted including the legal requirements to work from home and wear face coverings indoors. Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. National guidance continues to be to follower safer behaviours to protect yourself and others.
Mr Hill added: “I’d still recommend adults and older children to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed places and on public transport.
“We must all be vigilant about testing and isolating to stop the spread of the virus, and please stay off school or work if you feel unwell.
“If you have 12-15 year olds who have missed out on having their vaccine at school you can book an appointment or take them to a walk-in at Churchill Square every day.”
Advice from the council to 'keep yourself and your family safe' includes getting your Covid vaccines as soon as you can; reduce your close contacts and keep groups small; meet outside where possible or open a window; continue to wear a face covering in all crowded or enclosed spaces, including when you’re on public transport; and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly and cover coughs and sneezes.
Find the latest vaccine walk-in sessions here: Where to get your Covid-19 vaccinations in Brighton and Hove – walk-in sessions available every day | Brighton & Hove Independent (brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk)
12-15 year olds can get their 1st and 2nd doses through schools or from Churchill Square by booking online or you can walk in if you have an adult with you.
Anyone aged 16 or over can get theirs by booking online or by attending a walk-in. There’s one hour free parking at Churchill square for anyone getting a vaccine there.
The council also suggests people should take lateral flow tests before they meet others, socialise or go to crowded or enclosed places or where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Secondary schools will continue to provide tests kits for pupils to use twice weekly, and other family members should order online or pick up test kits from pharmacies, Jubilee Library, or Hove Town Hall, the council said, adding: "Please report all results so that you receive the most up-to-date guidance. You no longer need to order a PCR test to confirm a positive test."