Dr Andy Davies, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group discusses how to stay safe during the pandemic

I AM immensely proud of how local NHS staff and services across the health and social care system responded during the pandemic and I am extremely grateful for the fantastic support we received from the public.

While it’s encouraging that Covid-19 infection rates remain low in Warrington, they have risen in other areas and so I want to remind everyone of the importance of remaining vigilant and keeping safe. By following some simple advice, we can all help protect ourselves, our families, our communities and our local NHS from Covid-19.

Wear a face covering

Face coverings help stop the spread of the virus and they are now mandatory in all hospitals, GP surgeries, public transport, shops and supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, and post offices. It is also recommended to wear a face covering in any enclosed public spaces where social distancing is difficult.

From today, Saturday, it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in many other settings such as cinemas, theatres, museums, libraries, community centres, social clubs, places of worship, tattoo parlours, hair and beauty salons plus many others.

Warrington Guardian: Two women wear face masks on Gerrard Street in Soho, London

Please remember to protect yourself and others by wearing your face covering correctly so it covers your nose and mouth and so it fits comfortably but securely against your face. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before and after using your face covering. After wearing a single-use face covering, dispose of it carefully in a rubbish bin, and after using a reusable face covering, wash after every use at a high temperature.

Some people with disabilities or health problems may be exempt from wearing a face covering. If this applies to you, you do not need to contact your GP practice for a note to cover your exemption.

Keep your distance

It has been a very difficult time for people to be cut off from family and friends during the pandemic but to prevent any new outbreak of the virus, we all must continue to social distance from people outside our households or bubble. This still applies if you are wearing a face covering.

Coronavirus symptoms? Get tested!

Coronavirus symptoms include a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Please remember if you have any of these symptoms to get tested as soon as possible (visit nhs.uk/coronavirus for details) and stay at home until you get your test result. Anyone you live with or in your support bubble should also stay at home.

Warrington Guardian: A medic caries out a coronavirus swab test of someone in a car

If you test positive, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started or 10 days from when you took the test (if you have no symptoms).

NHS Test and Trace service will then be in touch with you so they can contact anyone who may have caught the virus from you to stop it spreading any further.

Find out more about Test and Trace and our local outbreak control plans in Warrington at warrington.gov.uk/TestAndTrace.

Kickstart your health

There are a number of factors that put you more at risk of being critically ill with Covid-19 and one of them is being overweight.

Currently nearly two thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or living with obesity.

Gaining weight is often a gradual process that takes place over a number of years and modern life doesn’t always make it easy. But this extra weight causes pressure to build up around vital organs, making it harder for the body to fight against Covid-19 as well as other diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

By reducing your weight within a healthy range, you can cut your risk of being critically ill with Covid-19.

Making the change can feel daunting but there is lots of support available to help you. Public Health England has launched a new campaign called Better Health, which offers a variety of tools and apps to help you make healthier food choices, become more active and prevent future weight gain. Find out more at nhs.uk/BetterHealth

You can also get support by contacting LiveWire’s Lifestyles Team – livewirewarrington.co.uk/lifestyle – or your GP (remember to contact your surgery in the first instance by phone or online using the eConsult form on your surgery website).