New campaign asks Suffolk 'What's It Worth' to avoid Covid this winter
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Every household in Suffolk is to receive a mail-shot encouraging them to wear masks and take other precautions to help tackle Covid-19 in the county this winter.
The new winter campaign What’s It Worth? - asking people to consider what would motivate them to be responsible - has been launched today.
People are being encouraged to wear face masks in enclosed public places, continue regularly washing hands and testing frequently to reduce the spread of the infection.
Public health chiefs say the county is currently seeing around 400 new cases per day, with the virus now spreading among the over 60 age groups where people could be more vulnerable.
Launched in the same week that the county became an Enhanced Response Area with national teams helping co-ordinate Covid-response efforts locally, the fresh campaign is encouraging people to consider the freedoms they enjoy that were threatened by the virus during lockdown, such as going to the pub, seeing family and friends or going to Ipswich Town games.
Stuart Keeble, director of public health at Suffolk County Council, said: “We know that doing very small acts in our lives can keep Covid-19 and other winter viruses under control – we’ve lived it for more than 18 months.
“Today, however, we face new challenges with high infection rates and continuing hospitalisations at exactly the same time that NHS is trying to catch up on delayed treatments for millions of people. We have additional support from Government, but we must all play a part. We must tackle this together.
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“The new campaign asks people to consider what those small acts are worth. For me, I wear a mask so that I can meet my parents at the weekend. We all have personal reasons why we keep Covid-safe – this campaign acts as a reminder of those.”
The new campaign is set to feature targeted messages for teenagers, where some of the infection spread is most prevalent, as well as a mail-out to all homes from November 15 reminding people that the pandemic is not over.
Messages will also centre around a fictional family, the Garnhams, shown living their lives while maintaining Covid measures.
The council said it was "a deliberately positive approach helping people to learn to live with Covid".
The campaign has five key asks of people:
- Getting fully vaccinated and taking up a booster when it is offered
- Continuing to wash hands regularly with soap and water, or use hand gel where that isn’t possible
- Wearing a face covering in crowded areas
- Ventilate indoor spaces
- Get tested regularly and stay at home if you are unwell
A spokesperson for the Suffolk Resilience Forum said: “Suffolk became an enhanced response area on Monday, November 1 and partners are actively working with central government on the additional measures that come with the status.
“This includes pop-up vaccination clinics in neighbourhoods with lower vaccination rates, door knocking campaigns and increasing testing in schools.
“We’ve already launched our communications campaign making residents aware of the situation in Suffolk, and on Friday the next stage of this gets underway with a drive to encourage people to follow virus safe behaviours so we can keep doing the things we love most.
“Throughout the five week period, more and more activity will be rolled out and we’re grateful to the Government for their support.”
Matthew Hicks, chairman of Suffolk’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board and leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “Throughout the pandemic, Suffolk has been effective at keeping our Covid rates low compared to other parts of the country. This is because we have worked hard and been proactive at every stage.
“The situation facing Suffolk now calls for the same forward-thinking and preventative work to protect residents, businesses and our way of life.
“As we learn to live with Covid-19, it will be actions such as this that prevent Covid from having an even worse impact and, ultimately, holding back our recovery.”