TOWN hall chiefs are preparing to step up guidance for a possible winter wave of coronavirus infection and working on plans to combat future pandemics.

The work is revealed in an update by Blackburn with Darwen Council health and wellbeing boss Cllr Damian Talbot to fellow councillors

In report to Thursday's Full Council meeting he warns of rising case numbers in the borough.

It says: "We are continuing to return to business as usual, whilst still supporting staff and residents to live safely with Covid.

"Covid-19 is still with us and we are starting to see an increase in cases and a rise in hospitalisations.

"We are monitoring this and encouraging people to remember the basics like hand washing, good ventilation, vaccination and staying at home when unwell.

"This will help us keep transmission low and protect the most vulnerable.

"Some guidance remains for certain settings such as care homes and hospitals and we are offering support to more vulnerable settings such as Houses of Multiple Occupation.

"We are undertaking proactive work to encourage wider infection prevention control measures as this will help support the reduction in the spread of other infectious illness such as flu.

"This will be even more important as we move into the Autumn when respiratory illness becomes more prevalent.

"We recently held a Covid-19 response de-brief session with chief officers which will result in a series of recommendations.

"This exercise will enable the council to be better prepared for future events of this kind.

"We will be holding further sessions with officers, partners and elected members.

"The Covid-19 Public Inquiry has now been formally established and will examine and report on preparations and response to the pandemic up to June 27 2022.

"Many sectors including local government will be asked to contribute to the inquiry and we look forward to supporting this important piece of work."

Three car parks used as sites for Covid testing centres have been handed back to the council and returned to their original 'pay and display' use They are Old Bank Lane and Penny Street in Blackburn and Railway Road in Darwen.