Councillor Ian Corkin has asked that the following be publicised:
“You will no doubt see some speculation about alert levels for Oxfordshire in the press this week and I wanted to take this opportunity to update you directly on the developing COVID situation across the county.
Over the last few weeks, cases of C19 in Oxfordshire have typically been in younger more resilient age groups, such as university students. However, whilst the number of new cases has not sharply increased this week, we are now starting to see wider community transmission from that younger age group to older more vulnerable residents and hospital admissions have already started to increase.
This spread is very concerning. With half term next week and the inevitable increased mixing of households, all Local Authority Leaders in the county agreed to request a move to Level 2 for the whole of Oxfordshire – this was designed to be a proactive measure to get ahead of the transmission curve and suppress the spread to more vulnerable groups. The request was considered by Gold Command (The government committee in London who decide on such things) yesterday and we were informed last evening it has been decided that Oxfordshire would remain on tier 1 for this week and Gold would review this again next week.
Please see the information from Oxfordshire County Council – news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/oxfordshire-close-to-high-covid-19-alert-level/ – which gives more information. With half term, plus events such as Halloween, bonfire night and Diwali just around the corner, when many families typically come together to socialise, it would be very helpful if you could help emphasise in your communities the need for people to observe the current restrictions, including the rule of 6, as well as the importance of face, space and hands. If we all do our bit, we can collectively turn the tide on transmission.
Finally, I appreciate that not everyone will be in favour of the council seeking a higher alert level. However, the data is clear, the virus has started to spread to more vulnerable groups and if we act early we can suppress it, save lives and hopefully avert the need for the even more restrictive measures seen in some other parts of the UK. As so often in this pandemic, it is a very finely balanced judgement.”