Cornwall Covid rates at all-time high as Easter tourists expected to spark further spike

Watch Kathy Wardle's report

Covid rates in Cornwall remain at an all-time high with around 1,000 new cases a day, according to the Duchy's public health team.

There are currently more than 170 patients in Cornwall's hospitals with Covid-19 and more than 360 medical staff across Cornwall off work due to the virus.

Cases have risen by 9% in the past week with a reported daily case rate of approximately 1,460 cases per 100,000 people.

Deputy director of public health for Cornwall Dr Ruth Goldstein says that could increase with an Easter influx of visitors.

Lateral Flow Test Kit Credit: ITV News

Dr Ruth Goldstein told ITV News: "We are concerned that we are going to have more people coming into the county in the Easter holidays.

"That means our streets and our shops and our hospitality are all going to be much more crowded.

"One thing we know about Covid, and particularly Omicron Beta 2, is that it's very sociable, so once you go into a small enclosed space if there is someone that has got Covid they will without a doubt spread it."

Who is eligible for a spring Covid booster vaccination?

The NHS is now urging people in higher risk groups to get their spring booster vaccination. That includes over-75s, residents in care homes for older adults, and children aged 12 and over who have weakened immune systems.

Operations lead for the Royal Cornwall Health Trust vaccination programme Anola Daniell said: "We want to continue to protect our loved-ones and we want to reduce hospital admissions.

"That's why it's really important that we continue to roll out the vaccination programmes, particularly in those vulnerable adults over 75, and children over 12 years old that have already got a weakened immune system.

"It's really important that they come forward for the next level of protection.

"We know following the first boosters there's a waning of vaccines, so it's really important with the three to six-month interval to come forward and have your second booster dose." 

A patient gets a 2nd Covid-19 booster at Stithians Vaccination Centre Credit: ITV News

This week is another turning point in how the UK government responds to the pandemic.

From April 1, most people will have to pay for lateral flow tests.

Cornwall's public health team says a drop in people testing or reporting results is inevitable.

Dr Ruth Goldstein said: "I think there is some unease in the whole system about the actual impact that reduced testing may have on our ability to cope in Cornwall.

"We're not surrounded by other counties that can help us."

How much will lateral flow tests cost?

Lateralf flow tests will cost anything from around £2.50 to £17 from pharmacies.

Some more expensive packs will offer a test result service for people travelling abroad.

nly some vulnerable patients will still be able to access free tests, including hospital patients and the over-75s.