THE leader of Ryedale District Council (RDC) has urged people to stick to the national lockdown with he message “we can get through this”.

Cllr Keane Duncan said that while there was light at the end of the tunnel, the public needed to stay safe and keep on protecting each other by staying at home.

The government has announced a national lockdown from January 5 due to the rising rates of Covid-19.

The stay-at-home order has been put in place to protect the NHS and save lives and will be reviewed on February 15.

Cllr Duncan said: “Ryedale citizens and businesses have been exemplary in following the national restrictions throughout this pandemic. I thank them wholeheartedly for this.

“I know that we can stick to this latest national lockdown and get through these difficult times together. Infection rates are on the rise and there’s a new strain of Covid-19.

“I urge everyone to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

“Many citizens are losing hope and businesses are on the brink of closure - we’re all tired and feeling the struggle.

“However, Ryedale District Council is doing all it can to support lives and livelihoods.

“We’re working around the clock to get business grants out to those who so desperately need them. So far, we have sent out over £25 million.

“We have support too for citizens who are worried about paying

their rent, or mortgage, and for those who can’t work and have lost their income because they’re self-isolating.

“And we’re working with our partners, community organisations and volunteers to support our most vulnerable.”

Cllr Duncan added: “There is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines, but in the meantime, let’s all stay safe and keep on protecting each other by staying at home.”

Richard Flinton, chairman of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, told a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) said that there was “light at the end of the tunnel” and urged residents in the county to abide by the restrictions while people are vaccinated.

“It is more important than ever to look out for others and for everyone to know that support is out there,” he said.

“So, we just need to work together for a little bit longer, embrace the lockdown, follow the procedures, stay at home and there will be a way through this in the end.”

He added: “This would be a terrible time to lose a loved one when the end is in sight of this pandemic.”

The forum heard that infection levels were continuing to rise in North Yorkshire and were expected increase further in the coming weeks when the impact of Christmas household mixing was felt.

Mr Flinton added that if the national lockdown had not been brought it the county would have been moved into Tier 4 restrictions due to the spread of the virus.

Amanda Bloor, NHS North Yorkshire CCG accountable officer, told the meeting that there are currently 271 people in hospital with Covid-19 in North Yorkshire, a rise of 70 from a week ago, with 34 patients in intensive care.

In April, at the peak of the pandemic, the county had 302 patients in hospital with the virus.

Pressure was being added with staff absences at 352 and an increase in hospital admissions due the number of falls in the cold weather.

Mrs Bloor said the county was expecting to take it first delivery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine later this week, which would speed up the vaccination process, however she urged people to wait until they were contacted.

She said: “Pleased do not contact your practice, the NHS has everyone’s details and they will get in touch as quickly as they can.

“What our focus will be this week is to get a plan together around vaccination in care homes as quickly and as safely as we can.”

For anyone who is struggling to cope due to Covid-19, there is help available.

Full details are available at or phone 01653 600666.

The Ryedale Community Support Organisation offers support for individuals - for those in greatest need with no network of family/friends. The helpline number for the Ryedale Community Support Organisation is 07922 421326.