HEALTH chiefs are monitoring an early warning system to detect a potential second spike of coronavirus cases in Cheshire West and Chester ‘very closely’.

The council’s health and wellbeing board met virtually yesterday, Wednesday, to discuss Covid-19 and its impact in the area.

Council leader Cllr Louise Gittins, who chaired the meeting, thanked members for showing ‘public sector ethos’ by rising to the challenge and working in partnership during the pandemic.

Figures, as reported on Monday, show there were 268 deaths from Covid-19 registered by Cheshire West and Chester by May 16.

That latest figure includes 76 deaths in care homes, nine at private homes and five in hospices or other community sites.

But the figures include deaths that occurred up to May 8, which were registered up to eight days later.

The board was informed that, as of May 14, 53.5 per cent of care homes in the borough were reported to have faced, or be facing, an outbreak.

Members were told there is ‘always the prospect of another spike around corner’, which is something being monitored ‘very closely’ through an early warning system.

Director of public health Ian Ashworth said: “We would monitor the data coming through and would have to make a decision on whether or not we would pull back some of the things we were doing in response to that.

“We would need to be led by the data and the things that come through.

“We would also work very closely with Merseyside as well, we try to do that across the patch.”

Cllr Gittins, Labour member for Little Neston, said the community response has been absolutely amazing as she hailed the public for playing their part throughout the crisis.

The response from volunteers includes help with emergency food distribution, while key community partnerships have also been formed.

Cllr Val Armstrong, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “One of our objects was to identify and respond to emerging issues and priorities and opportunities, presumably.

“The opportunity to continue to develop the food offer is a really important one.

“Mental health issues are an emerging priority out of the crisis that many people are coping, or trying to cope, with now and will need a lot of support later and we need to bear that in mind for future planning.”