The leader of East Riding Council has said tight coronavirus restrictions are likely to have to continue in the area even after the end of the current national lockdown.
Cllr Richard Burton says the East Riding is now in a ‘serious’ situation as coronavirus infection rates continue to increase across the county, and has called on the government for ‘urgent’ further help.
There were 8,814 coronavirus cases in the East Riding at the most recent count on Friday, an increase of 170 on Thursday’s total, with a rate of 2,583.4.
The council leader added its small public health team and the county having one of the lowest funding amounts per head at £32.88 was increasing pressure during the current lockdown.
Cllr Burton has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson requesting ‘urgent’ further help to handle the lockdown and to roll out new lateral flow tests and future vaccines.
Cllr Burton said: “We clearly need a lot more resources to help us, we’re in a serious situation.
“We’ve only got a small public health team here, they’ve done a brilliant job working over a long, long period of time.
“We’re going to need to make the best of what we have and what we could get from government going forward, but we need more staff and resources.
“We need people who can analyse the data on infections, assist with our response to outbreaks as well as the tests we need to do.
“This is a crisis and we need some help from government, other areas that have lower infections rates than us have got further support.”
Cllr Burton’s letter followed one from Hull City Council leader Steve Brady which also asked the prime minister for further assistance.
The East Riding leader said while Hull was at the centre of the crisis in East Yorkshire and the Humber, his area also needed help because of how much the two are interlinked.
Cllr Burton said: “We need to make sure the government takes that into account given our infection rates.
“We have East Riding residents who travel to Hull for work and vice versa.
“The next two weeks are going to be crucial, we’ve got a growing infection rate and we need to get on top of that as quickly as possible.
“The likelihood is that we will go into a higher tier after this lockdown.
“We want to avoid that, but if we do go into a higher tier we’ll have more restrictions ahead of Christmas which a lot of businesses rely on for their trade.
“So we’re going to need support to help with that too.
“We’re in contact with government, I’m hopeful we’ll get a positive response and I want to thank them for the financial support we’ve had so far for business grants.”
Cllr Burton said there was ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ with the news about vaccinations.
“There’s also good news in our care homes where infection rates are down,” he said. “But keeping them down will be a challenge. We only have finite resources.”
Cllr Burton said despite a fall in care home cases, more people in hospital meant it was all the more important for residents to follow coronavirus guidelines.