Great Britain

Covid: North Yorkshire council chief calls on people to 'step up' to have chance of spending Christmas with family

A COUNCIL chief executive is warning that people must step up to have a chance of spending Christmas with loved ones.

Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council said infection rates were continuing to rise across the county.

Yesterday, Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director for Health and Adult Services, said its Tier 1 status was “hanging on by a thread”.

Mr Flinton said he was concerned about the number of outbreaks in care homes – with 55 of the 233 in the county having had a case or outbreak.

Three are dealing with a “very difficult situation”, with a wider scale of infection, he added.

Mr Flinton said: “Alongside this we have transmissions continuing to rise across the county, and I am afraid to say much of this spread lies outside of our direct control, because it is taking place within people’s homes and social settings.

“We are also surrounded by counties and regions in higher levels of restrictions than we are.

“Together all of these issues mean we are literally remaining in tier one – the lowest level of intervention – by a thread.

“If we are to have any chance at all of staying in this tier, and to give us all the best chance of being able to be with our loved ones at Christmas, we need to step up and stand together as a county and we will explain this in more detail over the coming days.”

Yesterday, environment secretary George Eustice warned it was "too early to say" what arrangements would be in place and warned that people might not be able to get together in large groups as they usually would.

Mr Flinton, who is Chair of North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum, added that residents would have to adapt the way they lived for "many more months".

He added: “There is much talk of vaccines, let’s hope that one becomes widely available, and that it is effective. There is certainly cause for hope and the treatments for people who end up in hospital have also improved, which is positive.

“Testing and lab capacity are also improving and we are extremely successful in North Yorkshire at securing new options for testing across communities.”

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