WITH most lockdown restrictions now ending – the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) have revealed their plan to mitigate local cases as much as possible.

As part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap, stage four which scraps social distancing and mandatory face mask-wearing, has now been imposed despite cases rising nationally thanks to the Delta variant.

Much like other local authorities, the Royal Borough has seen cases sharply rise over the last few weeks.

RBWM just recently passed 10,000 cases since the start of the pandemic and its current infection rate per 100,000 population stands at 276.

Royal Borough Observer: RBWM's current weekly rate is 276 per 100,000 populationRBWM's current weekly rate is 276 per 100,000 population

But no Covid-related deaths or hospital admissions in RBWM have been reported.

In response to this new unlocking, the council has hatched a plan to try and manage the virus locally and told their plan at an outbreak engagement board meeting on July 19 – ‘Freedom Day’.

Anna Richards, public health consultant at the council, told members they want to increase uptake in the vaccine, particularly in the younger cohorts as cases are more prevalent in the 20 to 30-year-olds.

Vaccine figures show 33 per cent of 20-24-year-olds in the borough are yet to be vaccinated, although that figure is slowly going down.

READ MORE: Freedom day: Covid rates, vaccine figures and hospitalisations in Berkshire

This would involve understanding the barriers on why people are hesitant to get the jab, and then creating targeted campaigns and workshops to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

One of which could be aimed at eliminating the stigma that Covid-19 is just an “old person’s disease”.

Another is to urge people not to delete the NHS Covid app just in case they get pinged and need to self-isolate for 10 days.

Ongoing communication work on test and trace will continue, reminding residents to get tested twice a week and to self-isolate for 10 days if positive.

Ms Richards said: “We have our local contact tracing team working really hard when cases are identified to follow up with those contacts and make sure they are isolating appropriately.

“Will need to expand that resource – and we are in the process of doing that – as the cases increase.”

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The council will also be developing plans and clear messaging on the new guidance and what it means for high-risk settings such as schools as well as for businesses, the clinically vulnerable, and residents and visitors.

Some of this will include developing new communication strategies as well as pushing their current efforts such as the ‘don’t let your guard down’ campaign, reminding people to stay safe and keep protected from the virus by wearing masks and washing hands regularly.

Independent councillor Helen Price (Clewer & Dedworth East) asked if RBWM has any plans to update old school buildings to provide better ventilation for pupils as lockdown eases.

Kevin McDaniel, executive director of children’s services at RBWM, said it’s “too early” to do anything this summer – but will consider it in their yearly list of school maintenance going forward.