Stay at home and drive COVID cases down

Oxfordshire residents, together with the nation, are being advised to continue to stay at home and follow the existing COVID-19 rules, which will begin to gradually ease from 8 March as part of the government’s roadmap to bring England out of lockdown.

The number of COVID cases across the county is continuing to fall, but the week-on-week reduction is now much smaller than it was earlier this month. For the week ending 19 February, the number of cases across Oxfordshire fell by just 5% compared to a drop of 40% in the previous week, while in Cherwell cases actually rose.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, Ansaf Azhar, said: “While we now have a clear roadmap from government for the easing of lockdown, as announced yesterday, it’s crucial that for every stage we must follow the rules laid out. This week’s statistics are a timely reminder that we are not out of the woods yet. It is welcome news that cases overall continue to decline but the rate of decline seems to have slowed and it is not uniform across the county.

“We realise that everybody is yearning to get their lives back to some sense of normality as soon as possible. However, we should all be aware that relaxing too soon takes us further away from that normality in the long-run.

“We know that the roadmap is dependent on continued progress with infection rates and the number of hospital admissions, as well as the rollout of the vaccination programme. It’s in our own interests as individuals, colleagues and families to get cases as low as we possibly can so that we can gradually emerge from lockdown with the confidence that COVID-19 will not surge out of control.

“We are making excellent vaccination progress across the county, with over 95 per cent of those aged over 75 having had their first jab, together with more than 90 per cent of those aged 70 - 74. Let’s not delay this progress by becoming sloppy about how we abide by the rules.

“Following public health guidance is as important now as it’s ever been, from maintaining your distance to covering your face when you go out. Every facemask and example of washed hands makes a difference. They are simple, effective things that everyone needs to build into their daily lives. They remain an important step in our route out of lockdown.”

This week’s COVID-19 statistics in Oxfordshire by district are:

  • Cherwell 103 per 100,000 of the population compared to 82.4 the previous week
  • Oxford 103 per 100,000 of the population compared to 106.3 the previous week
  • South Oxfordshire 61.9 per 100,000 of the population compared to 82.4 the previous week
  • Vale of White Horse 61.8 per 100,000 of the population compared to 66.9 the previous week
  • West Oxfordshire 42.5 per 100,000 of the population compared to 60.6 the previous week