True Covid rate in Northumberland likely to be higher than confirmed figures

Covid case rates in Northumberland could be much higher than official figures for positive test results, according to health chiefs, who have urged the public to stick to guidelines on hygiene and face coverings.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 8:17 pm
There are at least 1,000 Covid cases being confirmed in Northumberland each week.
There are at least 1,000 Covid cases being confirmed in Northumberland each week.

The county has recorded more than 1,000 positive results a week since at least September, according to official figures.

Modelling by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) however, paints a bleaker picture, suggesting that, including those without a test or symptoms, one in every 50 people in the county could be infected.

But despite concerns about the new Omicron variant, bosses remain confident, with hospital admissions and deaths remaining low so far.

“We’re still seeing well over 1,000 cases a week confirmed in Northumberland and we know that’s only a proportion of the positive cases in our communities,” said Liz Morgan, director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council.

“But it does look like the rates are still slowly going down and we’re seeing reducing rates in people over 50.

“The not so good news is we’re seeing increasing rates in children under 10 and the rates in the age groups in between are fluctuating a bit.

“But it’s looking like the booster vaccine is having an impact on reducing infection in people over the age of 50 which is really good news.”

The latest ONS surveillance data estimated the North East could have the second highest rate of infections of any English region, with 2 per cent of people infected according to its calculations, second only to the East Midlands, on 2.2 per cent.

Testing figures however give a more positive view, with the rate of confirmed cases at its lowest level in the county since September.

The emergence of the Omicron variant has raised fears of further setbacks in the fight against the virus.

But experts have insisted it is too soon to say whether it will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of vaccines, transmissibility or severity of infection and instead urged the public to continue with tried and tested prevention measures.

Morgan added: “Keep your distance from others, wear masks in settings where social distances can’t be maintained, not just in shops and on public transport.”