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!
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.