Two of the region’s senior medical leaders have stressed the importance of taking steps to limit the spread of COVID-19. It follows the introduction of new rules which come into force from midnight tonight (00:01am on Saturday 3 October).
Dr Tristan Cope, Medical Director at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Fiona Lemmens, a local GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, made their comments after the Government announced new restrictions for people living in the Liverpool City Region. This follows a significant rise in coronavirus cases in the region in recent weeks.
It means that from Saturday residents must not meet anyone outside their household or bubble in any indoor setting, including private homes and gardens. These measures will be enforceable by law and subject to fines. Schools and Covid-secure settings are not affected and remain open. It is also recommended that people do not meet with anyone outside their household or bubble in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and outdoor hospitality, and residents are advised to only travel for essential reasons.
Dr Cope, who works as a Critical Care Consultant and is the most senior medic at the Trust which runs Aintree University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital, the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Liverpool Dental Hospital, said: “These new measures have been introduced because we have seen a significant rise in the number of cases in our region. It is really important that people remain vigilant and take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and those in our communities who are most vulnerable to this virus.
“We saw earlier in the year what happens when COVID-19 spreads rapidly and we do not want to be in a position again where our ability to carry out non-COVID work is hampered. At the moment we are managing but as the number of COVID cases in our hospitals increases this becomes more difficult. We may reach a point where we have to prioritise treatment for the most clinically urgent cases, which means that people who need more routine care end up waiting longer. This is not what any of us want, so it is really important that everyone plays their part and helps reduce the spread of the virus.”
Dr Lemmens, who is a local GP and chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It’s really important to stress that NHS services, from GPs to hospitals, are still here for you. You should still seek help if you need it, for example if you spot any changes that you think might be due to a serious illness such as cancer, a stroke or heart problems, and carry on with any treatment that you’re already having. If you need to come into a healthcare setting, like a GP practice or hospital clinic, we have measures in place to make sure that this is safe for you.
“It is equally important that we do all we can to limit the spread of the virus. This means following the latest rules but also washing your hands regularly, using a face covering when social distancing is not possible and keeping your distance from those not in your household. These are simple things we can all do which will help everyone in our community. It is also really important to self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.”
For details of the symptoms to look out for and how to get a test, visit www.nhs.uk.