18,000 people with Covid in Cumbria as virus continues to claim lives

  • Ryan Dollard talks to Cumbria's Director of Public Health Colin Cox

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Cumbria has increased in recent weeks, as the winter months draw nearer.

Around 500 positive cases were confirmed by tests over a seven day period, but experts say the real infection rates are likely to be much higher due to widespread Covid-19 testing no longer being undertaken.

According to the Coronavirus Infection Survey, an estimated 3.6% of people have recently tested positive - accounting for around 18,000 or one in 28 people.

While the number of deaths related to Covid remain relatively low, people are still dying from the virus - an average of four people per week over the past 10 weeks.

Hospital admissions had recently increased but are now said to be stabilising or even decreasing.

Health professionals say the situation can change rapidly and admissions are expected to increase going into winter unless vaccine take-up improves.

Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Colin Cox, said: "The disruption we all faced because of Covid-19 just a year or so ago may feel like a distant memory now – but Covid-19 has not gone away.

"It’s still circulating in the population and continues to cause serious illness in some people.

"There are simple things you can do in your daily life that will help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and other respiratory infections and protect those at highest risk, such as getting vaccinated, letting fresh air in if meeting others indoors, washing your hands, and wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces.

"If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, please get tested, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

"I know for many people it will feel like the pandemic is over and we just need to get on with it now as many people will not become very ill at all when they do contract this virus.

"Thankfully the vaccine has had a real impact on that. However, that’s not the case for all our population who remain at risk if they are infected.

"In addition, we must think about the impact rising rates of infection has on the workforce, particularly in services we all rely upon such as the NHS.

"To ease those pressures, we must continue to follow the public health guidance."

If you’re aged 50 or over, pregnant, a frontline health or social care worker or have a health condition or weakened immune system, you may now be eligible to receive a seasonal booster dose of the Covid vaccine.

If you haven’t already been invited to receive yours, you can book an appointment online, call 119 free of charge, or visit your nearest walk-in vaccination centre.

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