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‘Innate common sense’ of Norfolk people hailed for keeping coronavirus at bay

PUBLISHED: 14:57 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:19 06 July 2020

A customer wearing a face mask at Thetford Garden Centre during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A customer wearing a face mask at Thetford Garden Centre during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The “innate common sense” of people in Norfolk has helped keep down the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the county, according to the county councillor with responsibility for public health.

Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social care and public health. Photo: Bill BorrettBill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social care and public health. Photo: Bill Borrett

There had been 2,848 coronavirus cases in Norfolk up until Sunday, with 472 COVID-19 related deaths up to the middle of June.

Public Health England now publishes data showing the number of tests in hospitals, known as Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 - the tests covering the wider population.

And those figures showed, in the week up to June 28, there were 1.5 positive test results per 100,000 people, with Norfolk ranked 120 out of 151 local authorities for the rate of new coronavirus cases.

At a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s cabinet, Bill Borrett, The Conservative cabinet member for social care and public health, said: “I think one of the reasons Norfolk has had relatively low incidences is the innate common sense of the people of Norfolk.”

But he said people need to get used to the “new normal” and do so safely. He said: “It’s about people taking responsibility for their own actions.

“That means maintaining social distancing, whether at work of shopping and to wash your hands. It’s a very simple message, but if people wash their hands and don’t touch their face when out, the future cases will be minimised and the impact on the county will be less as we will be able to open up the economy and get back to normal as soon as possible.”

The cabinet meeting heard further details about the impact of coronavirus on the council’s finance, with a forecast £16m overspend on this year’s budget.

The government had previously given County Hall £43m, but that has not covered the £62m cost pressures caused by coronavirus.

The government announced a further £500m pot, but the council is waiting to find out how much of that it will get - and what period it will cover.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, described it as a “sticking plaster” and that short-term fixes did not help with longer-term financial planning.

Some £10m of the projected overspend is in adult social care, but Mr Borrett said it had left the council in a “rather unpleasant financial situation”, but that the department had “stepped up to the plate” in a “time of national crisis” to support the county’s vulnerable.”


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