Warning that Covid cases could be set to soar in Northumberland
North East health chiefs have spoken out after a government minister warned that coronavirus cases were set to spiral.
Almost 50,000 new Covid-19 infections were reported in the UK on Wednesday, a day after the country saw its highest daily death toll since March.
In a press conference, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, warned that winter could see cases rise to 100,000 a day.
He added that “this pandemic is not over” and insisted that he would do “what it takes” to protect the health service.
But despite the British Medical Association insisting that it was “categorically” now time to activate ‘Plan B’, Javid is ruling out plans to introduce tighter measures designed to protect the NHS.
The health secretary declined to say how high infection or hospitalisation rates would need to reach before measures are reimposed.
And he urged millions of eligible people to come forward for booster jabs, adding this was key for people being able to “keep their freedoms”.
Liz Morgan, director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council, said: “In recent weeks we have seen a rise in case numbers which is very troubling. We need to do all we can to prevent this trend continuing and causing additional pressure on the NHS.
“Doing the basics like regular hand washing and adopting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach to stop germs spreading, wearing a face covering in busy areas and on public transport, and letting fresh air in or meeting outdoors when you can, are still the best ways to stop the spread of winter illnesses, along with having the Covid and flu vaccines if you are eligible.
“Although mandatory measures are not yet being introduced, we should all be following these simple and effective steps to prevent the spread of Covid and protect the ones we love.”
Wendy Burke, director of Public Health at North Tyneside Council, added: “Cases in North Tyneside continue to rise, as well as across the region, and the pressure on our NHS services is starting to increase. We must all act now and do whatever we can to avoid reaching a crisis point. We can all take basic precautions, like wearing face masks, keeping indoor spaces well ventilated and taking tests regularly, to help prevent further transmission.
“Although further national measures are not yet being introduced, I would urge all our communities to do their bit, play their part and take these simple steps now.
“We know they work, they have helped us overcome spikes in the past, but without a collective effort we risk further restrictions being imposed. Not only do they protect us all from further spread of the COVID virus but they will guard us against seasonal illnesses such as flu – all of which could stretch the NHS beyond its limit.
“The vaccine remains our strongest defence against the virus. It provides protection for you, your family and your community. If you are not already full vaccinated please do so as soon as you can – this includes the flu jab and Covid booster if you are eligible. Access to vaccinations for 12-15 year olds will soon be more widely available through the national booking system as well as in schools ”