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Council issues stark warning on services as schools close and cases rise

Bridgend County Borough Council is warning that essential services such as social care, schools, road gritting and waste collection could be at risk if local cases of coronavirus continue to rise.

Amid concerns that health services could also become overwhelmed, the county borough recently became the third highest area in Wales for positive cases of Covid-19 with an infection rate of 698.4 cases per 100,000.

The high numbers of school-based staff who are self-isolating or ill with coronavirus has already forced one comprehensive, a special school and six primary schools to close earlier than planned.

Now the council is warning that further services could be affected if staff fall ill or have to self-isolate as a result of coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Council Leader Huw David said: “The new infection rate for the county borough represents a massive increase in just two weeks and is much greater than could have been projected. If it continues, it will inevitably result in further disruption to services.

“Cynffig Comprehensive, Heronsbridge Special School and Porthcawl, Croesty, Tynyrheol, Coychurch, Nantyffyllon and St Mary’s and St Patrick’s primary schools have all closed as a direct result of staff being affected by coronavirus, and more could follow.

“Council staff are already working flat-out to provide vital services in difficult circumstances, but any further reduction in our workforce could have a major impact on our ability to do so.

“If that happens, we could be forced to start considering things like rationing out specific types of social care or only treating certain roads within the highways network.

“If cases of Covid-19 continue to rise, we may be forced to stop care home visits in order to protect the staff and ensure that they are able to continue to support and look after residents.

“I know that colleagues in health are also experiencing similar concerns. Two Welsh health boards have already been forced to cancel non-urgent care until further notice, while the First Minister has confirmed that a further national lockdown may be necessary.

“Ultimately, it is down to residents to determine what happens next, and whether it will become necessary for such drastic measures to take place locally or not.

“Everyone needs to play their part, to think about the possible consequences of their actions, and to follow the rules on wearing a mask, socially distancing, washing hands, and following the guidance.

“We are all in this together, so please, act now to protect your friends, family, neighbours and yourselves.”

For more information about ways you can get a Covid-19 test, call 119 or visit the coronavirus page at the Welsh Government website.

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