North East moved to COVID-19 Enhanced Response Area
From Monday (26 July), Darlington, as well as the entire North East region, will be a COVID-19 Enhanced Response Area (ERA).
This means that Darlington, as well as the whole region, is to be given rapid additional support by central government. This could include, where necessary and appropriate, targeted testing, support with the vaccine rollout, support conducting ‘door to door’ testing and approval to recommend additional interventions in schools. Enhanced Response Areas will also be listed on the government website, encouraging individuals to exercise caution and reiterating the importance of getting vaccinated.
Councillor Kevin Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Health & Housing, said: “Although Darlington’s overall cases remain the lowest in the region, including our all-time per 100k rate being the third lowest in the region behind North Tyneside and Northumberland, we accept that we have to act collectively and take into consideration the range and peaks of the current wave.
“Cases are continuing to rise sharply across the Tees Valley and our response must reflect the potential risk to all our communities. Being included as an Enhanced Response Area does not mean that we are going back into a lockdown situation, but it does mean we will have enhanced monitoring and additional support in place. We are assured that it will a be a short-term measure – areas will automatically roll off after five weeks, although a review will be conducted at week four to determine whether this is appropriate.
“To avoid staying as an Enhanced Response Area, we must work together to ensure that Darlington’s cases do not continue to rise over the next five weeks. We must all urge our residents to get both doses of the vaccine as soon as they can, as well as take up regular testing and to follow self-isolation guidance as required.
“As a Council, we have already conducted over 30,000 community tests in our recording breaking community testing scheme, and we have since given out over 32,000 individual tests via our click and collect service for residents to do at home.
"I am confident that we are doing a significant amount of work currently to increase vaccine uptake and to advise people on how to keep safe.”
Darlington’s first dose vaccine rate of 83.2% is currently the second highest in Tees Valley.
Darlington residents will be encouraged to continue regular testing, even without symptoms and to get both doses of the vaccine as soon as possible.