The people leading Cumbria’s response to the covid pandemic are calling on all Cumbrians to take steps in response to the spread of the new Delta variant of the covid virus.
The call comes as near neighbours Lancashire and Greater Manchester are seeing the rapid spread of the new variant and Government advice is that people should minimise travel in and out of these areas.
In Cumbria new infections rose 88% in the last week, but for now the infection rate remains below regional and national averages. Evidence suggests the new Delta variant is responsible for the rise.
The combination is causing concern that Cumbria could also see a rapid rise in infections unless people take action.
Cumbrians are being advised to:
• Minimise travel into the Lancashire or Greater Manchester areas.
• If you travel take a rapid result covid test on your return, get a confirmatory PCR test if you test positive and self-isolate.
• Get vaccinated as soon as you are able. National data is showing that around 95% of people now being admitted to hospital have not been vaccinated.
• Stay vigilant and follow the basic public health guidance - washing hands, wearing masks, keeping your distance and meeting outdoors are effective at preventing spread.
• Continue to do regular rapid result covid tests at home as part of your weekly routine and get a confirmatory PCR test if you are positive.
• If you have symptoms - new persistent cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell - book a PCR test through the national system and self-isolate until you get your result. If you are positive, self-isolate for 10 days.
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, said: “Our infection rate is still comparatively low, but all the signs are now pointing in the wrong direction. Unfortunately the pandemic is not over and without action we can reasonably expect infection to spread and increasing numbers of people to become ill.
“New infections are concentrated in the younger age groups, those less likely to have been vaccinated. While younger people tend to be less badly affected by the virus, if large numbers become infected because this new variant is more contagious, then we could start to see hospitalisations rise again. Nationally we are already starting to see this, with a 27% increase in hospital admissions for covid in the last week.
“We have an opportunity now, it is not inevitable that there will be third wave in Cumbria, but this is the time for people to take stock and think about the things they can do to protect themselves and prevent infection spreading.”
Latest Covid situation in Cumbria:
There were 77 new cases in Cumbria (an increase of 36, +88%, from 41 cases in the previous week);
• Eden had the greatest number of new cases (+19 new cases);
• Eden also had by far the highest rate of new cases (36 new cases per 100k population);
• However, rates in all Cumbrian districts remained well below both the national and regional average rates (48 and 133 new cases per 100k population respectively);
• New cases increased from the previous week in all Cumbrian districts except Carlisle;
• Eden experienced the biggest weekly increase in new cases both numerically and proportionally;
• The 19-24 age group accounted for the greatest number of new cases in Cumbria (+19 new cases);
• The 19-24 age group also accounted for the greatest rate of new cases in Cumbria (68 new cases per 100k population);
• The 30-39 age group experienced the greatest numerical increase in new cases (12 more new cases than seen in the previous week).
Health & Hospitalisations - Summary for week ending Tuesday 8th June:
• The number of new patients admitted with COVID-19 Positive status and the average number of patients with COVID-19 in beds in North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC) increased from the previous week, however, this increase was extremely small;
• There were no new patients admitted with COVID-19 Positive status in University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMB);
• The average number of patients with COVID-19 in beds in UHMB decreased from the previous week.
• In the week to Friday 28th May 2021 there was one COVID-19 related death occurrence in Cumbria.
Impact on Sectors
• The situation in care homes remains stable with very low numbers of current outbreaks;