Fighting the coronavirus across Hertfordshire

Published: 31 Mar 2020

It’s been a momentous week in Hertfordshire, with our two clear priorities being to ensure that our residents are kept as safe as possible and that we can continue to deliver our services. 

The unprecedented nature of the coronavirus outbreak means that it is impossible to do both across the board.  We have seen services suspended including libraries, household recycling centres, weddings, family centres, parking restrictions and play areas to name a few.  This is all to support the government’s instruction to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Staff are being kept safe, with many of the 8000 from Hertfordshire County Council now working from home or volunteering for re-deployment to support the areas of most need. Collectively, we have made huge efforts to support adult social care, despite some carers needing to self-isolate.

In addition, we have found solutions in partnership with local businesses and the University of Hertfordshire to overcome personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages and above all worked on the imperative to free up hospital beds.

Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, David Williams said: "A large proportion of our effort now will be on ensuring that our vulnerable and elderly are supported and cared for.  Importantly we’ve created a new service to shield and support the clinically vulnerable, which we estimate to be around 29,000 in Hertfordshire.

"These people are isolated in their homes and we are spearheading the operation to deliver groceries and have recruited thousands of volunteers through our Team Herts campaign."

Despite some closures, many essential services are still running including schooling for the children of key workers. Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue have measures in place to keep responding to emergencies and Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd noted that crime in Hertfordshire is down by a quarter in the last week. 

The police have been given powers that nobody anticipated, but it is vital that we all heed the government guidelines, so that these powers do not need to be enforced in Hertfordshire.  He said: "Policing is everybody’s business. Only by working together as a community, acting responsibly and being ready to offer help where it’s needed will we be able to overcome this crisis."

Linda Haysey, Chair of Herts Leaders, concluded that Hertfordshire leaders will be doing all they can to assist and protect our residents, our staff and the NHS. "Councils and emergency services have been entrusted with a huge role in helping shield those with serious health conditions from coronavirus, along with keeping residents safe and protected.

"This is a hugely difficult time for the whole county, but we are thankful for residents’ patience and we hope to see continued public support."