Brighton and Hove will remain in “Tier 1” of the government’s three-tier Covid alert system, despite the local public health chief warning the city is at a “tipping point” in its fight against the virus.
A group consisting of local MPs, councillors, health leaders and police chiefs, known as the “Local Outbreak Engagement Board,” met virtually yesterday to discuss the current number of cases in the city.
Last week saw 242 new cases recorded in Brighton, which translates to a rate of 83.2 cases per 100,000 people. This figure is considerably lower than the overall rate for England, which stands at 166.6 per 100,000.
The vast majority of these news cases came from 18-24 year olds at the city’s universities.
After hearing the data, the Board discussed the city’s current status as Tier 1, and concluded that this classification remains appropriate for the time being. This means that Brighton is subject to the basic national rules.
They agreed however that there was absolutely no room for any complacency about how quickly the situation could change and the crucial actions every organisation and individual in the city should take to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Council Leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said the meeting was incredibly useful and paved the way for effectively managing any significant future Covid outbreaks in the city should they happen. He was forced to apologise on behalf of the Board, however, for excluding certain community leaders from the meeting:
“Working as one team is so much more powerful than working as separate organisations.
“I know each and every one of us is doing great work to manage and prevent the spread of Covid, but people need to have trust in us that we are working collectively to keep them safe and if we are all providing the same information and advice; this goes a long way in building that trust.
“I am however acutely aware that the meeting invite wasn’t extended to the city’s Voluntary and Community Sector partners, faith and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community leaders. I will ensure that they are invited to the next meeting and I apologise for that oversight.”
Director of Public Health, Alistair Hill, emphasised the importance of self-isolating at the first sign of symptoms. He said:
“Self-isolating at the first sign of symptoms and getting tested is still essential when it comes to protecting your own health, protecting the most vulnerable and helping to prevent and manage local outbreaks.
“There are a number of test sites in the city now and tests are much easier and faster to get.”