St Helens workers asked to think Covid and flu safe before attending Christmas parties
Staff and workers in St Helens Borough are being urged to think Covid and flu safe during the next two weeks and not set off for Christmas parties and events if they have symptoms of an infection.
Both locally and nationally we are currently seeing an increase in flu cases, Covid-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Strep A (including Scarlet Fever and throat infections).
With the number of flu cases increasing significantly across the borough in recent weeks and the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections continuing to remain high anyone thinking of attending Christmas work events with colleagues are being asked to be careful and not attend if they show symptoms of an infection.
Latest figures for St Helens (through the Office of National Statistics) showed that in the week ending November 21st there were approximately 3,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the borough. In addition, overall flu vaccination uptake rates in the borough are currently lower than last year.
If you think may have symptoms of either Covid-19 or flu you should avoid setting off for the event and help protect others if you can. If you're able to test for Covid-19 at home do take the opportunity and if you test positive, avoid leaving home for four days if you can or until you no longer show symptoms.
If you do have a temperature, new cough, diarrhoea or vomiting that could be due to an infection, a 'bumpy' rash, seek medical help as appropriate and try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
If you have mild symptoms such as a runny nose, mild sore throat, achy, loss of appetite try to not give it to anyone else. Be aware that mild symptoms could be more severe in people who are more vulnerable to serious illness such as the very young, the very old and those with underlying health conditions so do take precautions not to pass it on.
With most Christmas events likely to be held indoors in light of colder weather conditions, the potential for picking up or passing on infections in the next few weeks is likely to be much greater. Anyone organising Christmas work events should try and make sure that any rooms used are well ventilated if possible to reduce transmission risks.
Councillor Anthony Burns, St Helens Borough Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage said: "This year will give many people the chance to attend Christmas parties without any restrictions in place for the first time but the potential for infections such as Covid-19 and flu being passed on remains as high as before. So it's important that we all take extra care in the run up to the Christmas period and think of others first.
"If you're thinking of attending a Christmas party in the next few days do be aware that any infection you may have can easily be passed onto others so if you do display any symptoms please think safe and stay at home."
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: "This year many people in the borough will be attending Christmas events with work colleagues without formal testing in place and thus it is much more about people using their personal judgement on whether they should go if they feel unwell.
"While we do want to people to enjoy themselves the risk of either catching or passing on severe infections remains very high. New cases of both Covid-19 and flu in the borough are still at a high level and this poses a particular threat to more vulnerable residents.
"If you are thinking of heading out for Christmas work events do be aware of any symptoms of infection and if you show any please think of others and avoid setting off. It is the best way to protect yourself and other work colleagues as we approach the main Christmas period itself."
Ruth adds: "We would also encourage people at this time to come forward for their Covid-19 and flu vaccinations if they can. With us now moving into the coldest winter months it is the best protection we can have against these viruses and other infections."
If you are not well and have symptoms of an infection you can visit here for more help: Get help for your symptoms - NHS 111
To book an appointment for you Covid-19 vaccination or booster, visit Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
To book an appointment to receive you flu vaccination visit: Flu vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)