Dr Caroline Dimond, Director of Public Health for Torbay Council, speaks out about the rising cases of COVID-19 Brixham and also explains where these cases are coming from and has a call to action for residents.

She said: “I know how much people love Brixham. It’s a fantastic place to live and work and there is a great sense of community and I understand how people in Brixham look out for each other. However, I have an extremely important message to the town as it faces increasing numbers of people with COVID-19.

“As of 7 November, there were 102 people in the town with the virus. This has gone up from 55 in the week ending 31 October and 19 from the week before that. This means that the number of cases is 5 times higher than 2 weeks ago. The current rate is 601 / 100,000. I’m more worried about Brixham than other areas in Torbay. That rate of 601/100,000 is the highest in the bay and actually is one of the highest in the South West. Almost 1 in 3 of our new cases come from Brixham.

“Our data is showing that these cases are, in the main, being driven by household and general community spread. This is due to people in the community not following the government guidance, not socially distancing and not self-isolating when they have symptoms if they have COVID-19 or are a contact of someone who has tested positive.

“We don’t see any evidence that this is linked to tourists or to people visiting the town. Our data shows it is also not being driven by our schools and young people. The most affected group are those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, working age adults. When we have looked at the patterns of spread the evidence is that these cases are strongly linked to social and sporting events especially in pubs and to household to household spread.

“Unfortunately, this spread within the Brixham community is resulting now in cases in workplaces, care homes and schools. We are seeing now also increasing numbers in the older population which is worrying. I am not trying to raise concern but instead, I am asking the people of Brixham to take a moment to think if their behaviour could be affecting the people who live in the town they love.

“I know Brixham people want to support and care for each other but they currently need to do this at a distance and to think about their social interactions. Even in lockdown, you could spread this further simply by popping in to see someone who is not in your support bubble.

“Finally - If you want to help further, consider signing up to be a Covid champion. The role of the champions is to be a trusted source of information within their communities. We will give you training and support you but this is a real way you can help your community. If you are interested, check out the council website at www.torbay.gov.uk/coronavirus”.

Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “We need to look at data around numbers and the rising rates of cases in Torbay and take what Dr Caroline Dimond is saying very seriously. COVID-19 still remains a real threat to the communities of Torbay and we must all play our part in combating this virus so we can try to return to everyday life.

“Brixham residents, and residents of Torquay and Paignton, must take heed and follow Government guidance to the letter. The best weapon we have to help us fight this virus is to socially distance and we must do this at every opportunity. We must also continue to wear face coverings where mandated and practice good hand hygiene.”

Councillor Jackie Stockman, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “I have lived in Brixham for a long time, so this is a subject very close to my heart. In Brixham, we pride ourselves on our strong community, our lively social groups and the way that we pull together to overcome problems.

“So, I would ask that you take our Director of Public Health message very seriously. The data is showing that this issue is a real cause for concern and is being predominantly spread in the community - so we must take immediate action to ensure that we stop the spread.

“If you have symptoms, get a test but you must self-isolate before you get the results. I know it can be easy to forget but we must socially distancing at all times, we must not visit people that are not in our support bubbles and we must continue to wear face coverings if required and wash our hands thoroughly.

“We all want to get back to normal as soon as possible and have Brixham the friendly thriving community that we all know and love but before that is possible we have to continue to adhere to the Government guidance.”

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