‘Long winter’ likely to bring more coronavirus rate spikes across Norfolk, warns council boss

PUBLISHED: 12:34 18 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:01 18 October 2020

Tom McCabe. head of paid service at Norfolk County Council, has warned the county faces a 'long winter'.  Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Tom McCabe. head of paid service at Norfolk County Council, has warned the county faces a 'long winter'. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

People in Norfolk need to be braced for a ‘long winter’, with more areas likely to see spikes in coronavirus rates, council bosses have warned.

Pleas have already been issued for people in Great Yarmouth and Norwich to take extra care amid rising rates - and efforts in the seaside town appear to have played a part in stabilising the number of cases.

Council leaders and public health bosses hope that, if people in Norwich follow the guidelines, the rates in the city can also be brought under control.

But Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council and chairman of the Norfolk Resilience Forum’s strategic co-ordination group, warned that people in the county needed to be braced for similar spikes in the weeks and months to come.

He said: “We’ve got to be in this for the medium term. We need to expect to be here until at least February/March and potentially beyond.

“We are having to prepare for a situation where we could have similar incidents that we had in Yarmouth, that we have in Norwich.

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“Two or three of our districts could be at that stage at any time over the next six months, together with a large number of outbreaks in workplaces, in educational establishments, in care homes and health settings, so this will be a concerted effort for a period of time.

“It’s important that people recognise that. And from that point of view, it’s important that people do the right things and the simple things that will help.”

Some of Norfolk’s MPs have been calling for the county to be spared a national lockdown to protect jobs and livelihoods.

And debate rages over the introduction of harsher restrictions in the north of England as part of the government’s tiered system.

Mr McCabe said: “There’s a fine balance between lives and livelihoods. That’s the great national debate that we are seeing at this point in time.

“Norfolk is in a great place and if our communities can keep doing the correct thing, if our workplaces can keep doing the right thing, then that gives us a more than decent chance that we will avoid the worst cases - 500/600 plus per 100,000 people that are in parts of the north-west.

“We don’t want to go there. It’s still in our hands, but it’s going to be a long winter.”

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