COVID-19: Omicron special update

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We are sharing this message with all of our e-bulletin subscribers given the serious concern about the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus and the risk to people's health.

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Omicron variant spreading fast

The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is now spreading fast in Cumbria. On current projections, by the end of next week daily COVID-19 infections are likely to be higher than at any point since the pandemic began. It is not yet possible to say when infections will peak.

This update reminds you about the things you can do to reduce the risk to yourself, your family and friends.


Vaccination - get boosted now

get your booster

Vaccination is the best protection against becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

You can get your booster dose 3 months after your second vaccine dose. Book your booster vaccination appointment or find a walk-in vaccination site.

People aged 18 or over can pre-book a booster dose appointment 2 months after their second vaccine dose.

If you have not yet been vaccinated you can still book.


Hands, face, space and fresh air

COVID Plan B Work from Home

England has moved to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. That's why it's important we all follow the latest guidance to help stop the spread.

The Plan B guidance is:

  • Get vaccinated and get your booster dose
  • Wear a face covering in most indoor public places and on public transport
  • Work from home, if you can
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer
  • Get tested and self-isolate if required
  • Follow the guidance and wear a mask when you are in enclosed spaces.
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Keep indoor spaces well ventilated, or meet outdoors
  • Keep your distance from people you don't regularly meet with.

Testing

testing

Doing a Lateral Flow Test before you meet with people makes sense.

Lateral Flow tests are quick and easy to do. Checking if you have COVID-19 before you meet friends and loved ones is an easy decision to make.

You can order them online for free. Alternatively, you can pick up test kits at your local pharmacy.

Fully vaccinated contacts of someone with COVID-19 should take rapid lateral flow tests every day for 7 days. If you test positive or develop symptoms, you need to self-isolate for 10 days. Find out when to self-isolate and what to do on the NHS website.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, book a PCR test and self-isolate.

To find out more about testing in Cumbria, visit the Cumbria County Council website. 


Help the NHS cope

covid vaccine

Demand on the NHS has never been higher. Seek help if you need it, but choose wisely.

All NHS services will continue to provide the care you need, when you need it, but it’s important we do all we can to reduce pressure on these services whenever possible – and the best way to do that is by choosing the right NHS service at the right time:

  • Call 111 – 24-hour advice on any healthcare need
  • Pharmacy – think pharmacy first where there are trained professionals who can prescribe medicines and give advice
  • GP – for ongoing or persistent medical issues
  • Minor injuries and Urgent Treatment centres – for urgent but not life-threatening issues
  • A&E - for life-threatening and serious emergencies only

Could you volunteer and support efforts to fight COVID-19? 

If you would like to volunteer to help, register at Support Cumbria.


Be prepared and look after yourself

medicine cupboard

Have a plan for what you will do if you get infected. Make sure you have what you need.

If you are ill at home and have to self-isolate, do you have what you need? 

  • Stock up your medicine cupboard
  • Make sure you have phone numbers for family, friends or neighbours who could do your food shopping for you.
  • Make a note of key support helplines just in case.

For advice, support and guidance on topics such as heating your home and making sure you have enough food, to travel advice in extreme weather and what to do in a crisis, visit cumbria.gov.uk/winterready.


Ask for help if you need it

covid help

If you are struggling there is help available. Don't be afraid to ask.

Cumbria County Council can provide urgent help and emergency support, including basic food and essential items, or if you are struggling to cope with your current situation for whatever reason.

Call the county council's Support Helpline on 0800 783 1966 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4.30pm). The line will be closed during bank holidays over the Christmas period (27 & 28 December and 3 January). 

You can also email COVID19support@cumbria.gov.uk and you will receive a response within one working day.


Support your community and be kind

neighbour help covid

Look out for your friends and neighbours, especially if they are old or vulnerable.

Looking out for the people in your community makes a huge difference. Check in with your neighbours and vulnerable people in your community, check they have what they need.

And remember, the pandemic is putting people under immense pressure, not everything is working as it would normally, but people are trying their best, so be patient and be kind as we all try and get through this.


Colin Cox, Cumbria's Direct of Public Health

colin cox

“By taking the action highlighted in this update you can help slow the spread of Omicron, reduce the number of people who become seriously ill and prevent NHS services becoming overwhelmed.

"We've been here before and it's hugely frustrating that we're here again, but we all know the drill. If we work together and do the right thing it will make a huge difference."