'Troubling' times after nearly 2,000 Covid cases in week recorded in Northumberland
Northumberland’s health chief has called on people to do their bit after a ‘very troubling’ rise in Covid infections.
Liz Morgan, director of public health at Northumberland County Council, was speaking after nearly 2,000 positive cases were recorded in the week to October 24.
She said: “In recent weeks we have seen a rise in case numbers, which is very troubling.
"We need to do all we can to prevent this trend continuing and causing additional pressure on the NHS.
"Doing the basics like regular hand washing and adopting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach to stop germs spreading, wearing a face covering in busy areas and on public transport, and letting fresh air in or meeting outdoors when you can, are still the best ways to stop the spread of winter illnesses, along with having the Covid and flu vaccines if you are eligible.
"Although mandatory measures are not yet being introduced, we should all be following these simple and effective steps to prevent the spread of Covid and protect the ones we love.”
Data from Public Health England reveals that 40 or more positive cases have been recorded over the past week in Ponteland North, Kitty Brewster, Seaton with Newbiggin West, Morpeth Kirkhill, Pegswood, Bywell, Bedlington West and Wooler council wards.
Infection rates are highest in Ponteland North, with 1,225 positive cases per 100,000 people.
The figures also show that the majority (28%) of Covid cases recorded in Northumberland in the week to October 24 were in the 10-19 age group.
So far, government ministers are sticking to their Plan A to deal with Covid this winter – which is to offer booster jabs and get more young people, including 12-15 year olds, vaccinated.
However, pressure is mounting for the introduction of Plan B – working from home, mandatory mask wearing and vaccine passports – in order to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed this winter.
Cllr Liz Simpson, deputy leader of the Northumberland Labour group, said: “Time after time the government has done too little too late. Removing the requirement for face masks was sheer folly. Surely after everything people have been through, we needed to proceed with caution to ensure cases don't rise again.
“The government has been dining out on the success of its vaccination programme. It has been excellent, but we still have one of the highest rates of Covid infection in the world.
“Experts are telling are us that, as well as vaccination, we have to do a number of things to keep ourselves and others safe; wearing masks in crowded places, ventilation and maintaining social distancing.
“No one wants to see more lockdowns, so we need to get on top of the rise in cases now.”
Government figures show there have been 42,168 Covid cases in Northumberland since the pandemic began in March 2020. In total, 774 coronavirus deaths have been recorded as of October 26. The figures include anyone who died within 28 days of a positive test result for Covid-19.
The figures also show 82% (241,174) of people aged 12 and over in Northumberland have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. But only 22.6% of 12 to 15-year-olds in Northumberland had received their first dose of the vaccine by October 25.