(News source: published on behalf of the Surrey Local Resilience Forum)
Surrey’s Local Resilience Forum is putting additional measures in place to support hospitals, social care, and other front-line services, as they battle to deal with very high and rising rates of COVID-19 infections across the county.
Surrey now has one of the highest infection rates per 100,000 people in the UK. The infection rate across the county increased by 46 per cent between the periods 19 to 25 December 2020 and 26 December 2020 to 1 January 2021.
In some districts and boroughs one person in every five tested were COVID-19 positive. Over the 14 day period up to 5 January 2021, hospital admissions across Surrey, with people suffering from COVID-19, increased by 140 per cent.
Since March last year, the Resilience Forum has been operating in 'Major Incident' response and recovery mode and has been working with partners including hospitals, GPs, social care, the emergency services, county, district and borough councils, to coordinate the response to the pandemic.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 4 January placing England into a new national lockdown, the partners that make up the Resilience Forum, will now re-prioritise their approach, focusing on public safety and redeploying staff and expertise between organisations to achieve the best outcomes for the people of Surrey.
Chair of Surrey’s Local Resilience Forum, Steve Owen-Hughes, said: “Our overarching mission is to stop the spread of this virus and save lives.
“By prioritising our efforts and sharing resources, we can collectively support the health service and the most vulnerable in our society, while remaining steadfast in our mission to help the NHS deliver the biggest ever vaccination programme in its history. Vaccinations, along with testing and local contact tracing, is critical in beating this virus.
“Since March last year, by working together, we have saved hundreds of lives and provided support to thousands of people. We believe that the next few weeks and months are going to be some of the most difficult we have had to face, as infection rates rise still further.
“I know how frustrating it is to be faced with another lockdown and I would like to thank the vast majority of Surrey residents for playing their part over the last few months. However, now is not the time to ease up if we are to save lives and protect the NHS and we need everyone to continue with their efforts.
“Please follow Government restrictions and stay at home and follow guidelines and wear a face mask, wash your hands and stay two metres apart.
“We all have a responsibility to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, and Save Lives. Only by working together will we beat this deadly disease.”
The last 12 months has been extremely challenging for Surrey’s Local Resilience Forum as they have managed the different stages of the pandemic, as well as planning and preparing for EU Transition, adverse weather, flooding, and the impact from a potential terrorist incident.