Residents are being urged not to put loved ones at risk and take steps to avoid spreading coronavirus to other members of the household.

In Warrington, 50% of new confirmed coronavirus cases are via household transmission. If you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, you must stay at home and self-isolate immediately. Your whole household also needs to self-isolate, but you should try to avoid contact with the affected person wherever possible to reduce the risk of the virus spreading within the household.

It's especially important to try to avoid spreading the infection to anyone who may be at higher risk from coronavirus, such as people who are 70 or over, pregnant women, or those who have a weakened immune system. If you live with someone who is higher risk, try to arrange for them to temporarily join another household while you're self-isolating. If that isn’t possible, then you should have minimal close contact with them during the isolation period, and make sure to wash your hands and clean surfaces regularly and thoroughly.

Coronavirus can stay on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours, so make sure to clean objects and surfaces you touch often such as door handles, kettles and phones, using your regular cleaning products.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “We should all be doing all we can to follow the national lockdown rules by staying at home as much as possible, unless you are a keyworker and cannot work from home. If you test positive for coronavirus, have symptoms, or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, self-isolating helps to contain the virus and ultimately save lives.

“Just because one family member has coronavirus, or develops symptoms, it doesn’t mean the whole household has to get it. Following a few simple steps will help to reduce the risk of any further spread of the virus to your loved ones, particularly those who might be at higher risk of more serious illness.”

It is important that if you have trusted family, friends or neighbours who you are able to call on for help, you should approach them if you need support. However, if you do not have access to trusted help, you can access the council’s safe and well service. Visit warrington.gov.uk/safeandwell for more information and to complete the online form, or call 01925 442441 or 442443. If you're on a low income and you're asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you may be able to get a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. Find out if you’re eligible and apply online at warrington.gov.uk/self-isolation.

Self-isolating can be difficult, especially if you are short on space. However, remembering to use a face covering when spending time in shared areas inside your home and always observing strict social distancing will minimise the risk of transmission to others.

To reduce the risk of infecting others in your household, you should stay on your own in one well-ventilated room as much as possible, keeping the door closed. If possible, you should avoid spending time in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas while others are present, and take your meals back to your room to eat.

It is also helpful to use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household where possible, but if you share facilities like toilets and bathrooms, regular cleaning is required. You should use separate towels from other household members, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for drying your hands.

For more information on self-isolating, visit the NHS website on how to avoid spreading the virus to people you live with.