WE are now one week away before a significant stage in the Government’s roadmap for easing the current coronavirus lockdown.

From next Monday, non-essential retail, hairdressers and nail salons and libraries and community centres will reopen their doors to the public.

Hospitality venues will also be able to serve people outdoors only, with there being no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol and no curfew.

Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen – but only for use by people on their own or with their household.

As we approach this roadmap milestone, here is an overview of the current coronavirus situation in Warrington.

How many new cases are being recorded each week?

The good news is that fewer than 100 new coronavirus infections were recorded in the town over the past week.

According to Public Health England data for the week up to March 30, which is the most recent period for which figures are available, 89 new cases were identified through testing.

Warrington Guardian:

This is the equivalent of 42.2 cases of Covid-19 per every 100,000 residents of Warrington.

Compared with the latest data from the previous week up to March 23, this demonstrates a significant fall.

During this seven-day period, 165 new cases were recorded at a rate of 78.6.

How is Warrington Hospital coping in terms of coronavirus patients?

Very well. Last week, the Lovely Lane site went six days without recording a single coronavirus death.

The number of patients being cared for after contracting the virus was also falling each day.

This run without a death sadly ended on Thursday, when Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust issued its latest update, with two deaths recorded.

Warrington Guardian:

It took the hospital trust’s virus death toll since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago to 490.

On Thursday, the hospital was caring for 44 Covid-positive patients, of which seven were in intensive care.

A total of 1,920 patients had been discharged after recovering from the virus.

Is the vaccination programme in Warrington still progressing well?

Yes, very much so. As of Thursday, more than 100,000 first vaccine doses had been administered in the town.

This is the equivalent of three in every five residents.

NHS data shows 103,296 people had received a vaccine jab by March 28 – equating to 61 per cent of those aged 16 and over.

Warrington Guardian:

Of those vaccinated, 77,903 were aged 50 or over – 94 per cent of the age group.

It means 25,393 people aged between 16 and 49 have received a first dose of the vaccine.

What is the message from Warrington’s public health leaders?

Following news that five asymptomatic testing sites are now open across the town, Thara Raj, Warrington's director of public health, said: “Since the first testing sites opened in January, we have identified and isolated thousands of symptom-free coronavirus cases.

“We need to continue with this work by making sure that those who have to leave their homes are not asymptomatic, and the new testing sites will help us with this by finding those who are infectious and do not have any symptoms.

“This is important, now more than ever, as Covid cases are starting to creep back up in certain areas of Warrington as restrictions are beginning to ease.

Warrington Guardian: Thara Raj, Warrington's director of public healthThara Raj, Warrington's director of public health

“We have set up several rapid testing sites across the borough to ensure that residents are able to get a coronavirus test easily.

“The three NHS (PCR) testing sites – for people with symptoms – also cover a wide area, so it is even easier to get a test when self-isolating if you or anyone in your household starts to develop coronavirus symptoms.

“Alongside social distancing rules, wearing a face covering and washing your hands regularly, this is the best way to ensure the number of cases stop rising in our local area.”