Message from Derbyshire’s Public Health Director

Hello, I’m Dean Wallace and as Derbyshire’s Director of Public Health it’s my job to protect the health and well-being of everyone in the county.

For the past few months, a huge part of mine, and my team’s work, has been to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities.

But despite all of our best efforts, confirmed cases have continued to rise across the county, as they are nationally, resulting in the Government’s new national lockdown.

The new rules, which came in to force just after midnight on November 5 until December 2, mean you should:

  • Stay at home except for specific reasons such as work (if you cannot work from home) education, essential shopping or to care for others
  • Not mix socially with anyone outside of your household or support bubble inside or outside although you are allowed to meet one other person outdoors for exercise
  • Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities remain open
  • Non-essential retail, pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, hair salons, entertainment and leisure venues should close although take-aways and click-and-collect services can continue

For more details of the restrictions now in place visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

The rate at which the number of cases continues to rise across Derbyshire is alarming with more people in hospital now than at the peak of the first wave. I would urge everyone to abide by these new rules. If we don’t, many more people will die.

And if anyone is under the illusion that they’re not at risk, then I’m here to tell them that they’re wrong. We all have a duty to do everything it takes to stop the spread of this highly contagious virus. I understand another ‘lockdown’ is frustrating but it is necessary to try to stop community transmission. This virus thrives on people being together so for a while we must remain apart to try to stop it in its tracks. So I implore everyone in Derbyshire to do the right thing to protect themselves, their loved ones and their friends. There has never been a more important time to summon our famous Derbyshire Spirit.

I’d also like to remind everyone to keep doing what they have been doing for the past few months – washing their hands regularly, staying apart and wearing a face covering if they do need to leave their homes for specific reasons. And if you develop symptoms – a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a change to your taste or smell – you should self-isolate immediately and book a test. It is vitally important that you do not leave your home while you wait for your results or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

If we all act now to lower infection rates across Derbyshire we can perhaps avoid an even longer lockdown and make sure we go back to the lowest possible local alert level so that we can start to do some of the things we love again.

If you’d like more information, to find out how and when to get a test and how to access support visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Stay safe. Dean Wallace, Derbyshire Director of Public Health