Loughborough Echo

We MUST take Covid seriously again

As Loughborou­gh sees some of worst infection rates in the country, health experts warn...

- By ASHA PATEL News Reporter

LOUGHBOROU­GH currently has some of the worst coronaviru­s infection rates in the country – including a worrying trend in cases among the over 50s.

Covid rates across the whole of Leicesters­hire are soaring again but Charnwood, which includes Loughborou­gh and Shepshed, is being hit hard with 671.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Mike Sandys, director of public health at Leicesters­hire County Council, says he is particular­ly worried about the rise in cases among over-50-year-olds and appealed to people to get back to the strict discipline of wearing masks in shops and indoor public spaces that was evident last year and earlier this year, before the lifting of mandatory maskwearin­g by the government.

“For me, it’s about getting people to take it seriously again,” he said “People, unfortunat­ely at the wrong time, seem to have given up.”

Mr Sandys urged all those eligible to get their booster jabs – and also the winter flu jab.

PARTS of Leicesters­hire are currently seeing some of the worst coronaviru­s infection rates in the country – including a worrying trend in cases among the over 50s.

Covid rates in the county are soaring once again following the half-term period, according to a senior public health official, as he urged everyone to take the same precaution­s we all did during the Covid lockdowns.

The latest rise follows a pattern that reflects a spike in cases after a previous half-term, but this time cases are spreading further.

Mike Sandys, director of public health at Leicesters­hire County Council, said cases previously were predominan­tly among secondary school ages, rarely spreading any further than their parents.

“But this time it’s more evenly split with primary school ages and the reason that matters is that I imagine they are likely to need childcare arrangemen­ts and be looked after by grandparen­ts.

“We’re getting quite a few more cases in the 50-year-olds and above – that has worried me more,” he said.

Leicesters­hire’s current rate of is 537.4 per 100,000 people, according to the government daily coronaviru­s dashboard – a figure that would have previously seen us facing lockdown restrictio­ns.

Charnwood, which includes the towns of Loughborou­gh and Shepshed, has the worst infection rate of the county districts with 671.7 cases per 100,000 people.

An infection rate of around half of that saw Charnwood pushed into tier 2 lockdown restrictio­ns last October.

Mr Sandys added that the same rates in January this year would have seen thousands of deaths per day, but the difference between then and now is largely down to vaccinatio­ns.

The current spike in county cases comes during the rollout of the booster vaccinatio­n which, as of today, will now be offered to those aged 40 to 49.

With the rapid spread of Covid-19 across Europe causing pressure on health services, the UK programme has been stepped up and people are being urged to receive a booster as soon as it has been six months since their second jab.

The government said in a statement: “Following a rise in cases and a return of lockdown restrictio­ns in Europe, those eligible for a booster have been urged to take up the offer as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families and help to reduce the pressure on the NHS.”

Anyone wanting to be fully protected by Christmas Day needs to get their booster jab no later than December 11.

Mr Sandys urged all those eligible to get their booster jabs – and also the winter flu jab.

He also appealed to people to get back to the strict discipline of wearing masks in shops and indoor public spaces that was evident last year and earlier this year, before the lifting of mandatory mask-wearing by the government.

“For me, it’s about getting people to take it seriously again,” he said “People, unfortunat­ely at the wrong time, seem to have given up.”

The NHS is already facing winter pressures, as well as ambulance serinfecti­on vices being stretched across the country.

Mr Sandys said care should be taken to help reduce those pressures, adding: “All the things we did last year for Covid meant we didn’t have a flu season, but it won’t be Covid alone that collapses the NHS this winter. If there’s anything we can do to relieve that, why wouldn’t we?”

Local health bosses have already warned of hospitals facing a double whammy with a lower natural immunity to the flu this year as well as the ongoing risk of Covid-19.

Richard Mitchell, chief executive of Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We are seeing the impact of Covid-19 in all of our hospitals with around 100 patients currently being cared for across our three sites. We are also experienci­ng winter pressures.

“Despite this, thanks to teams across our hospitals and the support of other partners, we are running a full elective programme, continuing our specialist and cancer services and making sure we can be there for the people who need us most.”

 ?? ?? People are being urged to get their booster jab as cases rise
People are being urged to get their booster jab as cases rise
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Health director Mike Sandys
 ?? ?? TAKE CARE: Health chief Mike Sandys is urging people to weasr masks and get jabbed
TAKE CARE: Health chief Mike Sandys is urging people to weasr masks and get jabbed
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