BRACKNELL Forest will follow other areas by being placed into Tier 2 of the government’s coronavirus restrictions “within weeks” if infection rates don’t slow down.

That’s according to a press release from the council after public health chiefs suggested a spike in local COVID-19 cases could mean tougher rules for resident over the coming months. 

It read: “While Bracknell Forest is currently categorised as tier 1 ‘medium risk’ the current rate of infection suggests that it will follow others in being categorised as tier 2 ‘high risk’ within weeks if the spread isn’t slowed down.”

READ MORE: Wokingham could go into into Tier 2 this month, council says

In light of this, bosses ay Bracknell Forest Council are calling on residents to do everything they can to protect their loved ones as coronavirus cases rise “sharply” across the borough. 

Council chiefs say this increase has come from people catching the virus after mixing with friends and family. 

But according to the authority, very few people are becoming infected from trips to leisure, hospitality or recreational locations. 

What does the data show?

This comes as data from Bracknell Forest Council shows an infection rate of 73.4 cases per 100,000 people from the 10th to the 16th of October. 

This is up from the 56.3 cases per 100,000 people recorded from 7 October to 13 October, provided by Public Health England. 

According to BFC public health officer Charlotte Pavitt, Bracknell Forest has now overtaken the South East’s infection rate per 100,000 people (67.4 up to October 16).

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Ms Pavitt was asked by Cllr Gareth Barnard if she was concerned about the borough’s rate “accelerating” away from the South East’s. 

She said: “This is the first week it has done that. 

“We need to see if that rate continues next week at least.

“Numbers in Bracknell Forest are still relatively small. 

“This is an absolute case tracking rather than an average we are tracking which would minimise what we call the ‘noise’ around it.

“At the moment I wouldn’t be comfortable in saying this is an absolute trend. 

“It could possibly still be noise. 

“Let’s see what happens next week — if the trajectory is still higher than next week then yes that’s the point at which we take note.”

Public health data shown on the BBC indicates 81 cases per 100,000 people have been recorded in Bracknell Forest from October 12 to October 18. 

This translates as 99 recorded cases overall, up 37 compared with the previous week. 

How can I help keep infection rates low?

Following this surge, councillor Marc Brunel-Walker urged residents to do all they can to keep infection rates low. 

He said: “By working together and sticking to the rules we collectively managed to keep the infection rate very low in the borough through the summer.

“However, like most places across the country, the number of people testing positive is now rising sharply and so we must all do everything possible to protect our loved ones.

“Data shows that we are spreading this serious virus to our friends and family, with the majority of the borough’s positive cases being spread between households. 

READ MORE: Fines handed out to people who didn't self-isolate in Bracknell during coronavirus pandemic

“In the main, people in Bracknell Forest are not catching it from restaurants, gyms, leisure facilities, shops or other facilities. They are catching it when they visit someone’s home or when someone visits theirs.

“We need to stop the spread, we need to do it together and we need to do it now. That means keeping your distance from your loved ones unless they are in your direct household, sticking slavishly to the rule of six, wearing a face-covering when you can’t keep a safe 2m distance and washing your hands regularly.

“Given the rate of infection, we know that tighter restrictions will be inevitable across most areas of the country. 

“But to protect the ones we love and ourselves we have to take responsibility for our actions, that way we can slow the spread together.”

What does Tier 2 mean?

Currently, Bracknell Forest is in Tier 1, meaning it has a ‘medium’ covid alert level. 

Areas in Tier 2 have a ‘high’ covid alert level as they typically have more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. 

This means residents will face tougher rules in what they can do. 

Bracknell News: TIER ONE restrictions currently in place across Bracknell ForestTIER ONE restrictions currently in place across Bracknell Forest

The rule of six no longer applies indoors, meaning only one household or ‘bubble’ is allowed together indoors. You are still allowed six people outdoors.

Care homes are closed to external visitors other than in exceptional circumstances under Tier 2. 

Under the ‘high’ alert, people may continue to travel to open venues but are encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. 

Bracknell News: TIER TWO restrictions NOT currently in place across Bracknell ForestTIER TWO restrictions NOT currently in place across Bracknell Forest

They should also avoid travel into Tier three areas where possible. 

All other restrictions listed under Tier One still apply, including guidance to work from home where possible, the 10pm closing times for hospitality, wearing masks in shops and social distancing where possible.