County Council–Gartree News.

Update on local Coronavirus situation.

As regular readers of my County Council Gartree News column will know, I  have been monitoring the positive Covid-19 cases. I have been looking at the numbers and rates per 100,000 daily for the  Kibworth and Great Glen Middle layer Super  Output Area (MSOA) since mid October.  There was an unexpected spike in the  numbers for this MSOA for the 7 days to 23  January. The increase in case numbers continued for a few days. Case numbers rose  from 26 (rate of 239.2) to 54 (rate of 445.5)  over a 4 day period. I was alerted to a possible  outbreak and contacted the Director of Public  Health over the weekend. He was able to  confirm that 35 people (23 residents and 12  staff) had indeed tested positive at a local care  home. The residents had been offered vaccinations prior to the regular testing process giving the positive results. The majority were  asymptomatic. I understand relatives were  informed as a matter of course. 

A delicate situation.

 This incident demonstrates how delicate  the situation is when there is a short but significant point source outbreak. It also demonstrates the importance of vaccinations to vulnerable people. 

Cases in Leicestershire are now decreasing  steadily, which is very good news. Vaccinations of the priority levels 1 to 4 are also on  course locally to be completed by 15 January.  However, residents need to be very wary of a number of scam emails that are circulating offering vaccine invitations. Official invitations  will come by letter, as I have had, or directly from your GP surgery by telephone/text.

Local elections May 6th.

The Government has been deciding whether  local elections are to take place on Thursday 6  May. After some discussion with various  groups, the minister has now announced that  they will indeed be going ahead. I’m sure  there will be plenty of advice about postal voting, proxy votes and voting in person over the coming weeks. 

How does this affect Leicestershire?

 So what does this mean for Leicestershire?  This year the cycle of four yearly elections for the 55 county councillors, representing 53 divisions, are due and that includes the Gartree  Division. I have again been confirmed as a  prospective candidate for Gartree. The election for Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC)  was due in 2020 but was postponed for a year  because of the lockdown last Spring. The current PCC, Lord Willy Bach, is standing down,  so there will be new candidates to choose  from. There may also be by-elections in some  areas for district or parish councils, and possibly some Neighbourhood Plan referenda.  There are no main elections for local district  or parish councils this year. 

 I am sure there will be more information  released over the coming weeks especially as  some venues, like schools, might have to be  changed. So far, the only snippet I’ve picked  up is that, if people choose to go to a polling  station to vote, they are expected to take their  own pen or pencil to vote with! 

Memorial Walk.

A tree trail in a country park will soon be providing space for reflection and remembrance  for those whose lives have been affected by  the coronavirus, thanks to the success of a crowdfunding campaign. 

 In just two months, local people and businesses helped raise the £60,000 needed to create a tree-lined memorial walk that will link the city side of Watermead Park in the south,  with the county side in the north. 

 Around 170 individuals and organisations  stepped forward to support Leicestershire  County Council and Leicester City Council’s  proposals for the project. Now that the funding has been secured, plans are underway to 

plant the 58 hornbeam, elm, oak, aspen and  birch trees that will form the trail – with the  two councils hoping that all the trees will be in  place next month.