Residents are urged to continue to protect themselves and each other as lockdown lifts and Northamptonshire’s Tier 2 ‘high’ alert restrictions are in place.

This week’s surveillance report, an analysis of the recent COVID-19 cases and rates over the period 23 to 29 November, shows that 946 residents have tested positive with COVID-19 since last week’s data was published.

The report shows weekly case numbers have decreased over the last two weeks but we have only just returned to rates similar to those pre-lockdown and they remain much higher than in late summer.

As COVID-19 hospital related admissions continue to rise, Public Health officials are calling for all residents to protect themselves and the vulnerable older population of 60 plus who tend to be at greater risk of more severe disease.

As the majority of coronavirus cases continue to be passed on within and between households, residents are being reminded that meeting indoors remains, and will remain, prohibited under Tier 2 restrictions. Furthermore, if you are in a bubble, and contact can’t be minimised with the over 60s due to caring responsibilities etc., then it must be minimised elsewhere to help protect this more vulnerable age group.

Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, says:
“We have been placed in Tier 2, which is officially high on the three tier alert system. With this in mind we must strictly adhere to Tier 2 restrictions and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“Let’s do everything we can to protect ourselves and each other and make sure that Northamptonshire goes down to Tier 1 and not up to Tier 3. A COVID-19 vaccine has now been approved but we can’t afford to be complacent. Simple hand washing, social distancing and face covering are all extremely effective measures and must be maintained as we continue the fight.

“Care homes are being sent lateral flow tests later this month to enable visiting, however we must all take responsibility for the welfare of our loved ones and their fellow residents. The elderly are much more likely to suffer severe illness and die from COVID-19 and if we visit them we must ensure we are not putting them at risk.

“There is now hope but we must continue to stop the spread. It is the season to start celebrating but we just need to make sure we are sensible before that cavalry comes over the hill.”

Pregnant women and residents aged between 50 and 64 are being urged to book their flu jabs now and protect their immune system. The jab will not only protect individuals from the potentially serious consequences of catching flu but also help to keep pressure off the NHS at a time when it is under enormous pressure because of COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, continuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste), you should immediately self-isolate and book a test. New booking slots are available each evening for the next day and more are released each morning. Pre-booking is essential.

If you test positive, you must self-isolate for ten days – with your household isolating for 14 days - do not go to your workplace, to school or to the shops. Either work from home or report sick. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be helped by the NHS test and trace service to identify the people they’ve recently been in contact with so they can be alerted and also self-isolate if required.

Tests can be booked online, on the Test and Trace app, or by calling 119. Home testing kits can also be ordered subject to availability.

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