Steve Brown, Devon's Director of Public Health, is urging people to stay at home if they feel unwell, with coronavirus, or symptoms of other illnesses that could be infectious.
His call comes as Devon is seeing a rise again in the number of coronavirus cases, with the latest data showing a 63.4 per cent increase in cases in a seven day period.
"I believe that many people are now left uncertain of what they should be doing; with the legal requirement to self-isolate gone, with free testing for most people about to end, and the onus now on individuals to decide for themselves what the appropriate behaviour is.
"We now see a national rise in cases, and in Devon. We’re seeing it across all ages in our communities, especially among the working age population. We're seeing it in care homes, among vulnerable residents and staff. And we seeing it in hospitals, with pressures in health and care settings compounded by staff absences due to illness.
"Devon residents have until now been very good at complying with the guidance, but to make it clear, here are five simple things I would encourage people to do.
"If you have symptoms of coronavirus, or any infectious illness, e.g. a cough or high temperature, vomiting or diarrhoea, or if you have tested positive for coronavirus, please stay at home if you can and avoid seeing others until you are feeling better. Employers, I am asking you to encourage your staff to stay home if they are feeling unwell or have tested positive for coronavirus - it must be better to have one person off for a few days, than risk a team of people being off for longer.
"Face coverings are still required in health settings, such as GP surgeries and in hospitals. Unless you are exempt, please continue to wear face coverings when in indoor public spaces with people you don't live with. That includes public transport, hospitality and retail settings.
"Testing, to identify if you are likely to have coronavirus, is important, so with free lateral flow tests ceasing from the end of this month, I would encourage people to use their current stock to greatest effect, such as testing before visiting older or vulnerable friend and relatives, or before going to your GP practice or to visit someone in hospital. If you test positive, please stay at home for five days or until your symptoms have gone.
“Keep up with your vaccinations, because they’re proven to help protect you and others from becoming ill.
"And simple hand hygiene is also still important, not just to protect from coronavirus, but also for fighting other infectious illnesses. It's a simple precaution, but still effective."