Public sector working together to deal with dramatic rise in covid-19

8 January 2021

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Issued on behalf of Surrey Local Resilience Forum, the co-ordinating group of representatives from local public services,  including Runnymede Borough Council, which are all in the front line of responding to Coronavirus.

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum is putting additional measures in-place to support hospitals, social care, and other front-line services, as they battle to deal with very high and rising rates of Covid-19 infections across the county.

Surrey now has one of the highest infection rates per 100,000 people in the UK. The infection rate across the county increased by 46 per cent between the periods 19-25 December 2020 and 26 December 2020-1 January 2021. In some districts and boroughs one person in every five tested were Covid-19 positive. Over the 14-day period upto 5 January 2021, hospital admissions across Surrey, with people suffering from Covid-19, increased by 140 per cent.

>> Read the daily data report on cases across all districts and boroughs in Surrey 

Since March last year, the Resilience Forum has been operating in major incident response and recovery mode and has been working with partners including hospitals, GPs, social care, the emergency services, county, district and borough councils, to coordinate the response to the pandemic.

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday 4 January placing England into a new national lockdown, the partners that make up the forum, will now reprioritise their approach, focusing on public safety and redeploying staff and expertise between organisations to achieve the best outcomes for the people of Surrey.

>> Read the Lockdown rules.

>> Read the open letter to residents from Runnymede Borough Council leader Nick Prescot

Chair of the forum, Steve Owen-Hughes, Surrey's Chief Fire Officer, said: "Our overarching mission is to stop the spread of this virus and save lives.

"By prioritising our efforts and sharing resources, we can collectively support the health service and the most vulnerable in our society, while remaining steadfast in our mission to help the NHS deliver the biggest ever vaccination programme in its history. Vaccinations, along with testing and local contact tracing, is critical in beating this virus.

"Since March last year, by working together, we have saved hundreds of lives and provided support to thousands of people. We believe that the next few weeks and months are going to be some of the most difficult we have had to face, as infection rates rise still further.

"I know how frustrating it is to be faced with another lockdown and I would like to thank the vast majority of Surrey residents for playing their part over the last few months. However, now is not the time to ease up if we are to save lives and protect the NHS and we need everyone to continue with their efforts.

"Please follow Government restrictions and stay at home and follow guidelines and wear a face mask, wash your hands and stay two metres apart.

"We all have a responsibility to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, and Save Lives. Only by working together will we beat this deadly disease."

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum (LRF) is a multi-agency partnership made up of representatives from local public services, including the Emergency Services, Local Authorities, NHS England and the Environment Agency, which are all Category One Responders under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The LRF is also supported by Category Two Responders, such as Highways England and utility companies.

The Surrey LRF brings together all agencies with a significant role to play in responding to and recovery from the effects of emergencies, and was formed to meet the requirements of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The LRF aims to plan and prepare for local incidents and large scale emergencies.