COVID-19 update... 6 January 2022

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In today's update:


Cumbria records more than 10,000 new cases in a week

New cases of COVID-19 in Cumbria have skyrocketed as 10,367 new cases were recorded in the week ending 31 December - an increase of 5,701 or 122% compared to the week previous (4,666 new cases). The current rate is three times higher than the previous peak in January 2021.

Rates in all districts except Eden were also above the national average rate (England 1,625 cases per 100k population). In the week ending Tuesday 4 January, the number of new patients admitted to hospital in Cumbria with COVID-19 Positive status increased by 22 from the previous week. The average number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital beds in the County also increased by 75 compared to the previous week.

The full COVID-19 situation report can be found at www.cumbria.gov.uk/stopthespread.

colin cox

Colin Cox, Cumbria's Director of Public Health

“The rate at which COVID is spreading in Cumbria and indeed the rest of the UK is truly alarming right now.

“Thankfully, it does appear this variant is milder than previous ones, but the focus now must be on protecting our NHS and care services. “That’s why we must all remain incredibly cautious over the coming weeks and bring the case rates down. Continue to get tested regularly and self-isolate if you’re positive. Keep your distance from others wherever possible. Wash your hands regularly and wear face masks in busy public spaces.

“Also, please make sure you get your first, second or booster vaccines as soon as you possibly can. If you haven’t had your first or second vaccine yet, it’s not too late. You won’t be judged or asked why by anyone – but please book it now.”


Local NHS leaders: "NHS is still here for you"

Peter Rooney, Chief Operating Officer for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“As everyone will be aware there are extremely high levels of COVID circulating in our communities, parts of Cumbria have the highest levels in the country. This is having a significant impact on staffing across all our health and care services.

“It is important that people know the NHS is here for you if you need help – especially those with an urgent need, such as a suspected stroke, chest pains or concerns about cancer. But we would urge people to consider using 111 online for less urgent health concerns and be understanding of the pressures on staff who are doing their very best in challenging circumstances. “We would also urge friends and relatives of people who may be particularly vulnerable to ensure they are being well supported.”

Dr Geoff Jolliffe, Clinical Chair at NHS Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Many GP practices across our region are currently facing unprecedented pressure due to significant staffing shortages.

“At this time, all our practices remain open and are contactable via the usual channels - however, we do ask that patients utilise the full range of services available in the community, such as pharmacies for minor ailments and illnesses.

“While the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on our region, we are determined to keep as many planned care services running to catch up the COVID-19 backlog, so if someone has an appointment for an assessment or diagnostic procedure, or other treatment, it’s important they attend.

“Many patients are experiencing symptoms they would normally associate with common respiratory tract infections, such as headaches, sore throat, a runny nose, and coughs – these should be regarded as possible Covid and you must have a PCR test at the earliest opportunity. Please don’t ignore it then carry on as normal.

“If you do require a GP appointment, please note that staff are working under considerable pressure and remember to be patient and be kind.”


People with a positive LFT now won't have to take a PCR to confirm their result.

LFD

From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.


Self-isolation guidance

Guidance in relation to self-isolation for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 changed on 22 December.

  • People who receive negative LFD results on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – do not have to self-isolate for the full 10 days. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period.
  • If your LFD test result is positive you must complete your 10 day self-isolation period.
  • Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 7 are strongly advised to limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID- 19.
  • There is no change to the guidance for unvaccinated contacts of positive COVID-19 cases, who are still required to self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure to the virus.

Press Release from UK Health Security Agency

Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection


What you can do to stay safe and protect yourself and your community


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.

Walk-in sessions available for Covid Boosters and Vaccinations

A number of vaccination ‘Walk-in’ sites are also available in north Cumbria providing more opportunities for people to get their jabs.

Walk-in sites in north Cumbria include

People are still asked to book appointments in advance for sites, wherever possible, to help vaccination teams to manage their vaccine supplies.

Further information on these sites with links to dates, times and the vaccinations available at: https://northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/walkins 


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. People who receive negative LFD results on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – do not have to self-isolate for the full 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).

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.