Fewer than 10 cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus have been found in Cumbria, the county’s public health director said.
New COVID-19 cases in Cumbria remained low in the week ending May 21 with just 39 new cases recorded, compared to 41 in the previous week.
Latest data shows 328,000 people (75 per cent of the adult population) have now had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, with a further 204,000 (46 per cent) having also received their second dose.
“The picture in Cumbria remains encouraging with the number of new cases staying low and the vaccination programme progressing well,” said Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public health.
“The situation elsewhere in the north west is giving some cause for concern however, with evidence starting to show that ‘hotspots’ for the new variant are merging into larger areas, thankfully in Cumbria we have so far seen fewer than 10 cases.
“It’s still too early to know what the significance of the new variant is in terms of people getting seriously ill, but I do note that nationally the number of cases has started to rise along with the number of hospital admissions. That reminds us that we do need to stay vigilant.
“I’m also conscious that the May bank holiday is almost upon us and we are expecting an influx of visitors to the county. I know our hospitality businesses have made huge efforts to implement COVID-safe ways of working and the evidence from last summer is that visitors did not appear to have a significant impact on infection rates, both those things are good news.
“For anyone out and about this weekend please keep doing the basics – keep your distance, wash hands, wear a mask, meet others outside where you can.”
Whatever people are doing, the advice from Cumbria’s Public Health team is:
- Meet outside – It is safer as fresh air blows the COVID-19 particles away. If you do meet inside, open the windows where possible to let in fresh air.
- Take the vaccine when you are offered it – Vaccines significantly reduce the chances of catching COVID-19 and passing it on and of severe illness. Consider whether you and your loved ones are vaccinated and whether there has been time for the vaccine to take effect before being in close contact.
- Remember that some people are more vulnerable than others – The risks from COVID-19 and therefore of close contact are greater for some people. For example, you might choose not to have close contact with an elderly relative at this point, particularly if one or both of you are not vaccinated.
- Minimise how many people you’re in close contact with, and for how long – The more people you are in close contact with the higher the chances of you catching or passing on COVID-19. Longer periods of close contact increase the risk of transmission but remember that even brief contact can spread COVID-19.
- Take a symptom-free COVID-19 lateral flow test twice a week – as a precaution, and if you do test positive book a NHS (PCR) test to confirm it. If you do have symptoms, however mild, self-isolate and book an NHS (PCR) test immediately.
- Continue to wash your hands regularly.
- Make space for other people to maintain social distance if they want to.
- You must self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 (however mild) or test positive, and do not meet up with others during this time. This is essential to stop any transmission. If people don’t self-isolate, we will continue to see outbreaks in settings and in communities and won’t be able to contain the virus.