“STAY ON YOUR GUARD”: Health boss warns against complacency amid rise in coronavirus cases
North Tyneside’s director of public health has warned we’re not back to normal yet and has urged people to stay on their guard as coronavirus cases in the North East increase.
Figures taken from the week ending May 31 show that the infection rate in North Tyneside is 71 per 100,000 people.
This equates to 148 cases of coronavirus in the most recent seven days compared to 90 cases last week.
And the authority has seen more cases of the Indian variant which has now been renamed as the Delta variant by the World Health Organisation.
She said: “We have seen a gradual increase in case numbers in recent days and a few more cases of the Delta variant.
“This increase has not led to an increase in hospitalisations or deaths. Confirmed cases of the variant now stand at 77, with all individuals self-isolating and their close contacts traced.
“It’s not surprising to me that case numbers have risen as we have been doing additional testing and we are picking up positive cases that we might not have otherwise found.”
Ms Burke said that the majority of new cases are among young people. She continued: “Most of these cases are among young people and we are not seeing a rise in older people, the majority having been vaccinated.
“Identifying additional cases, particularly those individuals who do not have symptoms is an important part of our plan to prevent further transmission.”
It was hoped that mobile surge testing units brought in to respond to an outbreak of the fast-spreading new Covid strain would be closing up on Tuesday.
But they will remain in place in as a result of the increased numbers. She said: “Mobile PCR test units will remain in place in North Shields and Wallsend town centres and in Shiremoor, next to Aldi and Costa. The sites are open from 10am-4pm and are for those without symptoms to get tested. Extra walk in vaccine clinics will also remain in place.”
Ms Burke said it is “wonderful” that the spell of sunny weather has brought more people to the coast but said caution is still needed.
She added: “It has been wonderful to see people returning to our coastline and open spaces during the recent spell of fine weather and it is good news for our local businesses too. They have been severely impacted by the pandemic and we thank them for their efforts to make sure their businesses are safe for customers to return.
“Although it may feel as though we are fully back to normal, we are not there yet. We must guard against complacency and we must not sacrifice all of our hard-won rights and freedoms by dropping our guard now.
“That’s why the council is asking all our residents to remain cautious, particularly when mixing indoors, and remember to practice the essentials – ‘hands, face, space’, fresh air, socialise outdoors and work from home if you can, get vaccinated, and take up the offer of regular testing.
“Let’s all work together and give ourselves the best chance of keeping the virus under control and our recovery on track.”
Written by Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter
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