Wiltshire Council has dismissed suggestions the county could be one of the next locations in the UK to go into lockdown. Media reports in June had stated that there had been a recent weekly increase of new cases in the county of 300%: however, this actually equates to an increase from one to four new cases.

Since the start of the pandemic until 26 June, there have been 550 confirmed COVID-19 cases within Wiltshire, which is still comparatively low nationally, and the South West remains the lowest ranked region for cases. Wiltshire also has the sixth lowest rate of cases per 100,000 resident population, with 110.4 cases per 100,000. This data is taken from the Public Health Coronavirus Case website.

Wiltshire Council has now published its Local Outbreak Management Plan, which will build on local expertise and effective health protection processes that are already in place, and will also outline how the council and its partner organisations will positively engage with the public in order that they remain fully aware and supportive of the crucial part they have to play in the process.

The UK Government has identified seven themes that are deemed essential to plans to manage an outbreak effectively. They are:

  • Care homes and schools
  • Identifying high risk settings, communities and places
  • Local testing capacity
  • Contact tracing
  • Data integration
  • Vulnerable people
  • Governance

Wiltshire Council will continue to work with the Government to support test and trace services in local communities, taking a place-based approach to containing the spread of the infection as much as possible. Effective governance will also play a critical part of the process. A Wiltshire Outbreak Engagement Board will be set up imminently, chaired by Council Leader Philip Whitehead, which will attempt to ensure that local residents and other stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors all understand and support the need to comply with the rules and principles designed to prevent viral transmission.

Kate Blackburn, Interim Director for Public Health at Wiltshire Council, said “Following our update on June 30th 2020 about media reports suggesting there was the potential for a local lockdown in Wiltshire, I wanted to respond to some queries we’ve had about Pillar 2 testing results. We do have access to these results locally and have been using them in all of our local planning.

“Please be reassured that even including Pillar 2 confirmed test results, the  number of confirmed cases in Wiltshire remains extremely low. On a daily basis we review a number of different reports and data with our Public Health England colleagues. Should there be any issues there are alert systems in place.

“The most important thing we can do as a community at the moment is to stick to the national guidance around social distancing and maintain good hand hygiene.

“I would like to thank you for your continued support at this time.”

You can read more about testing on the GOV.UK website: a video version of Kate Blackburn’s statement on the Wiltshire Council YouTube channel.