With Tameside currently having one of the highest Covid infection rates in the country, bosses have warned that the possibility of a 'crisis' is 'very real' unless 'immediate steps' are taken to prevent it.
After almost a month of slow but continual increases, the borough now comfortably has the highest infection rate in Greater Manchester and it is 19th in England.
According to Public Health England data, the rate is 426.7 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days up to 27 August. The current England average is 311.8.
With the situation escalating, Tameside Council is stressing that the need for having two Covid vaccine doses and regular testing is 'more important than ever' for residents to protect themselves and others, as well as avoid disruption to their lives.
"While there is no crisis at the moment, the possibility of one occurring is very real unless steps to prevent it are taken immediately," a spokesperson for the authority said.
Councillor Brenda Warrington, the executive leader of Tameside Council, said: "Although we’ve done well, and in general terms the vaccination programme has been a huge success, covid hasn’t gone away.
"It’s still with us at a high level with at least 100 new cases reported each day in the borough. There is also the possibility a new variant could emerge to replace Delta.
"What all this means is that we have to be realistic and cautious. If we want to reduce the infection rate and continue to enjoy the progress we’ve made, we have to make sure we wash our hands, wear masks in crowded places, and most importantly get two vaccinations and test regularly.”
Residents are being urged to get a PCR test even if they experience mild Covid-19 symptoms and get a rapid lateral flow test twice a week even if you don't have any symptoms. People can also get their jabs at drop-in clinics across the borough.
"Regular, rapid testing, twice a week for those without symptoms will also prevent people unknowingly passing on the virus," a council spokesperson said.
"Not only does this help protect others but in reducing the high rates of infection we reduce the risk of new variants developing.
"Vaccinations and rapid testing are easily available. Walk-in centre clinics take place every week day across the borough as well as pop-up clinics where booking isn’t required. Free testing kits can be picked up from pharmacies and libraries."
The latest information about testing and vaccines can be found at https://www.tameside.gov.uk/covid19Information.