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Concern as Stockport sees a coronavirus spike while Trafford also sees a rise

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Mike Pennington / Geograph

Coronavirus cases in Stockport have remained relatively low throughout the pandemic, but concerns have been raised as they’re now growing, particularly in young people. 

COVID-19 has spiked in Stockport over the weekend with a number of young adults testing positive.

Through late June and early July, the borough recorded five or fewer cases a day on average. Since last Thursday however, this number has shot up to between five and 15. 

The council’s Chief Executive, Pam Smith has reportedly attributed this to an outbreak in a care home and a significant rise among young adults (18-25). 

Gerald England/Geograph

According to Andy Burnham’s weekly updates, Stockport’s infection rate has been consistently one of the lowest in Greater Manchester. 

Stockport Council says the infection rate continues to be ‘well below’ many other areas but there has been a ‘noticeable rise’ in the number of cases in the age category 18-25. 

Jennifer Connolly, Stockport Council’s director of public health, said: “We would like to remind all residents, no matter what age they are, of the importance of not meeting up with anyone if there are any confirmed cases within the household.

“If this is the case households should isolate for 14 days if a household member has been tested positive or has symptoms and is awaiting test results. We encourage everyone in Stockport to comply with NHS test and trace advice, including isolating for 14 days if you are advised to do so following contact with someone who has been confirmed as having Covid-19.”

Stockport council leader, Elise Wilson added: “It’s absolutely right we put targeted stuff out. We know, because we have a robust plan and robust systems in place it means we can react to it and keep people informed. It is a good thing, we have this in place and it’s working.”

Mike Pennington / Geograph

Similarly, there has been a spike in coronavirus cases in Trafford which is also proportionately higher in younger people.

The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has risen in the borough, with half of the new cases being accounted for by 17-23 year olds. 

In the week ending July 17th, the number of new coronavirus cases in Trafford was 26, which rose to 77 in the following week. 39 of these were aged between 15 and 25. 

Public Health bosses have confirmed that the number of young people who are getting tested has increased and could therefore be partly responsible for the increase. 

 Keith Williamson/Geograph

Eleanor Roaf, director of Public Health at Trafford Council, said: “We have seen a rise in young people coming forward to be tested and this has led to an increase in positive cases.

“We don’t know exactly why this is but we are thanking younger people for acting responsibly in coming forward for tests when they feel ill.

“We think that the young people have been contacting each other and raising awareness of the importance of testing.

“If this is the case, we would like to thank them for their efforts, as this will help us stop further spread of the disease.

“I would urge everyone to continue to stick to the rules around social distancing and hand-washing when they are meeting up with friends or going out to pubs and restaurants.”

Charles Bowring/Wikimedia

Councillor Jane Slater, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Equalities said: “While any increase in cases are a cause for concern I am reassured that people are coming forward to be tested and I would urge anyone showing symptoms to make sure they are tested and if they test positive to self-isolate.

“No-one should be complacent as the virus has not gone away and still poses a risk especially to the vulnerable in our society.”

Medical Director at NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Dr Mark Jarvis, added: “My colleagues and I have witnessed first-hand the effects of this virus and it is absolutely true to say that this pandemic is not over.

“Together, we have done an excellent job in keeping cases very low in Trafford but we cannot allow complacency to creep in and undo what we’ve achieved.

“Please, if you feel unwell and are showing symptoms such as a change of taste and smell, have a new persistent cough or have a fever, book a test as soon as possible.

“You are not just looking after yourself, you are looking after the people around you, whether it’s your friends, family or local community.”

The news comes after Oldham introduced strict new restrictions due to a ‘dramatic’ spike in cases. 

Stockport council has continued to promote the ‘key steps’ people should take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Keep 2m physical distancing 
  • Self isolate and get tested if you get symptoms of COVID-19
  • Wear a face mask in enclosed spaces
  • Keep good hand hygiene
  • Isolate if you come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 

A new mobile testing facility has been set up in University Academy 92 in Old Trafford as a response to the trends found in that borough. 

A new social media campaign targeting younger adult has launched this week to help share important public health messages. 

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A huge 50 million-tree forest is being planted across the North of England

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Jill Jennings / WTML

The North of England is set to see 50 million trees planted over the next 25 years.

It turns out the North has just 7.6% of woodland cover, significantly lower than the average of England, and this new planned forest could absorb 7.5m tonnes of carbon.

Many council leaders, including Sir Richard Leese in Manchester, are backing the ambitious project that will see a forest created, spanning 120 miles across the North. 

The forest will connect Manchester with Liverpool and Lancaster, and see Sheffield, Leeds and Hull connected too. 

The project is currently underway and the Woodland Trust is looking for private landowners who want to take part! 

Sa Egarr / Unsplash

More than 120 Northern leaders and MPs have asked for the prime minister’s commitment to deliver the Northern Forest in a letter. They’ve also asked for opportunities to be looked at to support the development of green investment models. 

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester City Council declared a climate change emergency earlier this year and is working on a wide range of initiatives to enable the city to achieve its ambitious goal of becoming zero carbon by 2038.

“We are bringing forward an action plan which will explain how Manchester will achieve this ambitious target.

“The Northern Forest initiative, which would help absorb millions of tonnes of carbon, is entirely complementary to that wider goal and something we wholeheartedly endorse.”

WTML

Mayor of Sheffield Dan Jarvis, who is co-ordinating the Northern Forest campaign, said: “It will be transformational for more than 13 million residents, improving their health and wellbeing. It will help habitats thrive, a woodland culture to flourish as well as helping to tackle climate change, reduce the risk of flooding and create thousands of new jobs.”

Darren Moorcroft, CEO, Woodland Trust, said: “The Northern Forest represents the green lungs of the Northern Powerhouse. This pioneering project spearheaded by Woodland Trust and the Community Forests will deliver millions of new trees planted, and billions of pounds worth of economic, social and environmental benefits to the region.

“If we are to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises the world faces, internationally significant projects like the Northern Forest must be at the forefront of bold, ambitious domestic thinking.”

You can find out more and get involved on the Woodland Trust site and on the Northern Forest page.

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Home Bargains, B&Q, Wilko and others give important update on masks and other Covid rules

Everything you need to know about their rules

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Everything you need to know about shopping at DIY and discount stores in the pandemic…

Throughout the lockdown, DIY stores such as B&Q and Wickes as well as those selling essential items like Wilko and Home Bargains have been able to remain open.

They have, however, rules to follow to stop the spread of coronavirus and to protect staff and customers. 

Here’s everything you can expect while shopping at them (it is mandatory to wear a face mask unless exempt in any shop in the UK).

Ardfern / Wikimedia

B&Q

Those who do not want to wear a mask inside B&Q’s stores have been told they can order online. Those wanting to shop in-store are reminded of hand sanitiser and told to not visit in more than groups of two. 

A spokesperson said: “We are giving face masks to any customers who do not have one. If customers do not want to wear a face-covering in our stores, we are reminding them that they can always place an order for their essential items at diy.com for home delivery”.

Wickes

Queuing systems are in place at Wickes as only 30 people are allowed in the store at any one time. Customers must follow social distancing queues inside and wear a mask. 

At the tills, customers are asked to leave their trolleys in the designated space so staff can scan the items. 

If you’re buying larger items you can bring another member of your household to carry them. Showrooms remain closed.

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia

Home Bargains

Customers are asked to visit alone where possible and to queue outside when stores are full. Customers can also expect a traffic light system in busier branches. 

NHS, care workers, disabled and elderly customers have priority access.

Wilko

Customers can expect marshals at the front of the stores along with floor markers to maintain social distancing throughout the stores. 

Homebase

All customers are asked to wear face masks and clean their baskets and trolleys at the disinfectant stations at entrances if they wish. 

A spokesperson said Homebase is ‘continuing to ask all customers to wear a mask when shopping with us, unless medically exempt’. They added: “We are also introducing further signage in stores reminding customers of their role in helping to make shopping safe for everyone.”

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Manchester’s mental health café launches new campaign to brighten up Blue Monday

Look out for the posters around Manchester

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Feel Good Club and Manchester’s Finest have launched a campaign to spread positivity across the city on Blue Monday. 

The third Monday in January is known as ‘Blue Monday’ and is often described as ‘one of the most depressing days of the year’. 

Christmas is well and truly over, the excitement of New Year New Me has worn off and we’re left with dark, cold and short days.

To add on top of all of that is a third national lockdown and a global pandemic.

Adam Pester / Manchester’s Finest
Adam Pester / Manchester’s Finest

A mental wellbeing cafe, Feel Good Club launched in the midst of the pandemic with mental health at the heart of everything owners Kiera and Aimie do.

Collaborating with Manchester’s Finest, the two platforms have come together along with Jack Arts to create billboards and posters containing supportive messages.

Adam Pester / Manchester’s Finest

Commenting on the campaign, Miranda Banfield of Jack Arts said: “Bringing inspiration to the streets and positivity to our communities is at the heart of what we do at Jack Arts.

“We are delighted to be a part of this important project, displaying these powerful messages across Manchester, in the hope they are seen by those who might need them most.”

Co-Founder of Feel Good Club, Kiera Lawlor-Skillen added: “Feel Good Club is all about spreading positivity and making sure that people know they aren’t alone in how they feel, whether that’s a good day or a bad day, so on blue Monday it was more important than ever for us to do something that could possibly bring a smile to someone’s face.”

Adam Pester / Manchester’s Finest
Adam Pester / Manchester’s Finest

Steven Pankhurst, a director at Manchester’s Finest, said: “Finest was created for the people and ecology of Manchester. At a time where we all face our own unique challenges, we want to show support and spread a bit of positivity to everyone in our city.”

You can see the posters across the city for two weeks from today (Monday January 18th).

For more positive vibes head to Manchester’s Finest to see the collaboration between them and Feel Good Club in the monthly series ‘This Month’s Positive News’.

Watch December’s episode here, and you can give Feel Good Club a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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