'Wear masks in schools' call as Hartlepool Covid-19 cases rise

Councillors have called for masks to be worn in schools, shops and on public transport to help combat Hartlepool's rising Covid-19 rates.

Saturday, 6th November 2021, 2:35 pm

It comes after council chiefs warned case rates in Hartlepool have increased over the past month, especially in children.

Hartlepool Borough Council heard at its latest full council meeting how case rates had risen from 264 per 100,000 on September 30 to 447 by the middle of last week while there had been 10 deaths in Hartlepool relating to Covid since then.

Denis McGuckin, council managing director, said as a result of the rise, advice has been given to all adults and pupils in secondary schools to wear a face covering in communal areas, unless exempt, and to test at least twice a week.

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Hartlepool Borough Council managing director Denis McGuckin.

She said: “We have seen an increase in Covid cases especially in the age groups of 11 to 16 and as such we have provided advice to the heads of our schools.”

In primary schools advice has also been sent out encouraging all adults to wear a face covering in communal areas, along with a similar push for twice weekly testing.

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Labour councillor Brenda Harrison said the advice given to schools has been “very good” and called for this to be distributed further to those in shops and on public transport.

The Labour group leader on Hartlepool Borough Council, Councillor Brenda Harrison.

She said: “I think that the advice that you’re giving should be extended out of schools as well.

“I know it can’t be enforced the way it was, but there’s a lot of people who have just stopped wearing masks completely and there’s no way of getting that back.

“We’re not getting anywhere with this, the figures speak for themselves, and we need to look after our town and we need to look after each other.”

She also raised concerns some of those working in shops are also no longer wearing masks.

Mrs McGuckin said Hartlepool continues to provide a comprehensive Covid-19 response, including local testing and tracing arrangements for the town, and supporting those isolating requiring additional support.

Her report also noted hospitals are beginning to see a rise in the number of coronavirus cases admitted and that the increasing case numbers are “impacting on children’s education and critical services such as the NHS and social care”.