Tourism influx may cause 'small increase' in Northumberland coronavirus cases, says health chief

Northumberland’s director of public health has said it would not be a surprise if tourism in the county resulted in a ‘small increase’ in Covid-19 cases.

By Ben O'Connell
Thursday, 13th August 2020, 11:45 am

Responding to a question during her update at the August 13 meeting of the county council’s health and wellbeing board, Liz Morgan said: “At the moment, we haven’t seen any impact from tourism, but I don’t think we should be surprised if we do see a small increase based on the number of people visiting the county.

“What we have developed is a tourism charter, which is on the Visit Northumberland website, and we’ve started to do a lot of work with tourist-related workplaces and businesses.

“Of course, the more we start to mix as a society, the more likely it is that coronavirus is transmitted, which is why it’s still absolutely critical that we all comply with the rules around social distancing, hand-washing, the use of face coverings, etc.

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“I think the other message that we need to get out is that people need to be particularly vigilant if Northumberland residents are going to other areas of the country where rates are higher.”

Earlier in the meeting, Ms Morgan also said: “The Government has made it clear that the easing of lockdown was always conditional on the numbers of cases remaining low.

“I think the general consensus is that we have got to the edge of the extent of how much we can open the economy and society before the virus starts to increase again.”

Members heard that there have been 1,599 positive cases in Northumberland residents since the pandemic started, but just three over the last week.

“Our rates and numbers have really been very low over the past seven or eight weeks; they’ve varied between one per 100,000 and 3.5 per 100,000, which translates in numbers to between two and 11, so very low for a population of 320,000,” Ms Morgan said.

“Deaths in Northumberland continue to fall, we’ve had our first week with no deaths at all, which is really good news, although we have had one this week, which is always a tragedy for the family.”

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