COUNCIL leader Cllr Russ Bowden has pointed people ‘denying’ coronavirus is a problem to stark statistics as the town’s hospital approaches full capacity.

The council held another virtual Covid-19 leadership broadcast for the public today, Tuesday, to discuss the borough’s tier three restrictions.

The broadcast was conducted by Cllr Bowden and the council’s chief executive Steven Broomhead MBE.

They discussed matters including how the decision to move Warrington into tier three was made.

Last week, the council and Government agreed a support package for businesses in the town, with a funding arrangement also agreed for the authority’s continued public health effort.

Cllr Bowden said the tier three restrictions for the town have a sunset clause, which means the regulations will be reviewed after 28 days.

The Labour politician stated this should provide enough time to see how effective the restrictions are.

But Cllr Bowden said there is a possibility that more stringent restrictions could be introduced after this period following discussions with the Government – particularly around hospitality and leisure – if the current measures are not as effective as required.

But he hopes returning to tier two becomes the ‘collective focus’ for the town and urged people to ‘step up’ to address the situation as quickly as possible.

Mr Broomhead labelled the restrictions as severe and urged people to respect the rules, while emphasising it is a ‘time for solidarity’.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington has been placed into tier three of the coronavirus restrictions

Cllr Bowden said the absolute number one priority is protecting lives and the capacity of the hospital.

He said the vast majority of residents and businesses have followed the rules but admitted it is a ‘tough ask’.

“Please don’t give up, we have to keep going and do our best to come together as a town in defeating this bug, which continues to be a problem and a scourge here in Warrington,” he said.

Cllr Bowden also said that new cases in the town have spread not just among young people but also older people, particularly those older than 60 years old.

He said there are now 117 people in Warrington Hospital with coronavirus and 16 in intensive care, while there have tragically been 40 deaths due to Covid-19 in October.

He added: “It is quite clear that this is a serous public health situation that we have.

“For those people who deny that Covid is a problem, I point you to those very stark statistics and say that this is a responsibility of us all to deal with this situation and get Warrington back to some sense of normality.”

He confirmed the council is working on a scheme to enable businesses to access the funding package.

The funding totals just under £6 million – with £4.2 million of it to be direct support for businesses who ‘desperately need’ it.

The council is working on a scheme to enable companies to access the cash.

Cllr Bowden said the public health situation in town continues to be ‘very serious’, with case numbers still ‘stubbornly high’.

He said there is now a seven-day coronavirus case rate of 380 per 100,000 and it looks as if ‘case numbers are increasing again’, with more people being admitted to hospital.

Mr Broomhead said the town’s hospital, as of today, is at 98 per cent capacity.

In relation to question from a resident, Mr Broomhead said the council has asked the Government to provide clarity on the criteria for getting out of tier three.

He said he guesses that it will be around the number of coronavirus cases, the number of people in the hospital and the number of people who have died.