On March 20 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Middlesbrough. Since then, over 10,000 people in Middlesbrough have tested positive for the virus.

Middlesbrough has been one of the most infected places in England, based on the number of people who live here. It also has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the north east, with more than 200 people having died since April 1.

The fact that people who live here are more at risk of infection, and at higher risk of serious complications from that infection, makes our Local Outbreak Control Plan so important.

It’ll be some time before we fully understand why COVID-19 hit some areas harder than others. But it’s clear that the poor general health of people in Middlesbrough has had an impact.

There’s a 12-year difference in how long people can expect to live, on average, between the wealthiest and poorest parts of our town.

The less money someone has, the more likely they are to have a job where they can’t work from home and reduce their risk of catching the virus.

The less money someone has can also make social distancing more difficult. For example, they may not be able to shop online.

Middlesbrough Council has now been handed more responsibility by the government as part of the NHS Test and Trace service.

We need everybody in Middlesbrough to do everything they can to protect their neighbours.

You can play your part by following social distancing guidelines, self-isolating when there is a case in your household, and washing your hands regularly.