THE people of St Helens have been urged to take caution this weekend as the UK braces itself for a heatwave.

The Met Office issued an amber heat health warning this week, the second-highest available, as temperatures are expected to soar from Friday.

Scores of people will no doubt head outdoors over the weekend to take advantage of the good weather, but public health chiefs have stressed the importance of continuing to follow national coronavirus guidance.

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While the prevalence of the virus has fallen dramatically in St Helens, cases are beginning to rise, and on Monday, the first Covid-related death in weeks occurred at Whiston Hospital.

On Wednesday, St Helens Borough Council said the weekly infection rate had fallen to just 1.1, per 100,000 population, between July 29 and August 4.

This is the lowest in the North West and a dramatic contrast to the peak of the virus in April when the infection rate was among the worst in England.

However, public health chiefs have now revealed that numbers are on the rise in St Helens.

Sue Forster, director of public health for St Helens Borough Council, said: “Although infections are low in St Helens Borough the numbers are rising and as has been seen in other parts of the country these can quickly grow in a short space of time.

“We want to make sure that we do not face similar measures that have had to be brought in elsewhere.

“Whether it’s meeting in a park, restaurant, pub, bar or home it is important that we remember the key steps to help reduce our risks, which is washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds, keeping distance from anyone not from your household and wearing masks in enclosed spaces and on public transport.

“If you feel that social distancing can’t be followed please take the sensible decision to leave the area and find somewhere you feel comfortable and safe.

“If you are visiting a restaurant or bar make sure to also ask staff about how you can register your details for test and trace purposes.

“If you or anyone you know has any symptoms of a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or loss of taste or smell please make sure you isolate for 10 days and book a test.

“This is vital to help us reduce the risk of spread.”

St Helens Star: People should continue to wash their hands regularly People should continue to wash their hands regularly

As of today (Friday) 1,220 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in St Helens, according to data published by Public Health England (PHE).

This has not increased from Thursday, which saw a big jump of nine cases from the previous day.

Much work has gone into bringing the infection rate down in St Helens – including a monumental effort from the public.

But with cases now on the rise, the public have been warned not to be “lulled into a false sense of security”.

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Cllr Anthony Burns, cabinet member for public health, leisure, libraries, culture and heritage, said: “Thank you to everyone playing their part in helping to keep our infection levels low, but we cannot be complacent because we are still dealing with the impacts of this virus.

“It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security as life returns to some normality but we need to continue social distancing as a way to break the chains of potential infection.

“The key is to make sure you feel comfortable that you are safe.”

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