Statement – Tier 3 Restrictions
Calder Valley residents have made personal and professional sacrifices to bring down Covid-19 transmission. This is working, and we have started to see a decline in infection rates, however, we still have a long way to go. It is only just under 2 weeks ago that we were peaking at almost 500 per 100,000 infections.
Calderdale Borough currently has the 27th highest infection rate out of all English Local Authorities. Our local authority area is also above the regional and national averages.
My inbox has been full of quotes from varying scientists and experts from around the Valley and the Country on how their advice carries more weight than any other. The reality, however, is that you cannot argue with the hard facts.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in Calderdale has actually increased since the start of the November lockdown at 75 Covid-19 deaths. This is incredibly worrying. Every death is a travesty, and may I pass on my heartfelt sympathies to anyone who has lost a friend or loved one during this pandemic.
The infection rate has also had an impact on hospital capacity. Despite national lockdown, the number of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients in Calderdale Royal Hospital is actually up, on beds occupied at the start of the national lockdown. It is actually more than this as we have a two-site trust so our patients flow over to Huddersfield Royal as well.
Whilst it is good that our Covid-19 transmission rates are reducing, the above evidence demonstrates that we need to sustain lower transmission for a longer period to have a material impact. For this reason, I am supporting the localised Tier 3 restrictions and as some of you will have seen, backed the Government in the vote last night.
The Tier 3 restrictions are subject to review in 2 weeks. At that point, I’ll be taking an evidence-led approach, as I have been doing throughout the pandemic. I hope that we can report on some better news at that point.
It is also welcome news that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines have been formally authorised by the Medicines and Heathcare Products Regulatory Agency. Having spoken to the CEO of Calderdale and Hudderfield hospitals, our local NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week.
Thank you and please do keep safe.