27 July 2022
COVID-19 rates are rising both in North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire and we are particularly concerned about rates in the over 60s population and pressures on our health services.
As it’s the Summer holidays there is likely to be increased mixing which unfortunately translates to additional COVID-19 cases when it is in high circulation in the local population.
This means that when outbreaks occur now, and they are increasing, they are generally driven by cases originally in the community.
We call this community transmission driven rather than being location based such as hospitals, care homes, or workplaces as was frequently seen earlier in the pandemic.
So we need you all to be extra careful around others, particularly those who are vulnerable.
Although we are in period of the Government’s Living Safely with Covid we do need to take sensible precautions to ensure that rates can be controlled.
We have a duty to advise Northamptonshire residents of these measures, including a strong recommendation as directors of public health to return to mask wearing for those who have stopped doing so.
In Northamptonshire we are seeing a system wide return to mask wearing within all NHS hospitals, GP practices, dentists and other health settings.
Staff, outpatients and visitors are requested to wear masks in response to the high levels in the county, to protect inpatients and help control staff sickness rates while COVID-19 is in such wide community circulation.
This is a decision which has been taken by many healthcare systems elsewhere in the UK.
Our advice is that face coverings be worn by care home visitors as we need to particularly protect this vulnerable part of our population. Care home staff have been wearing masks throughout the pandemic so far and will continue to do so.
We are also strongly recommending face coverings are worn in all crowded places where distance cannot be easily kept.
This is because in times where there is a high case rate, such as the present, mutations to COVID-19 are more likely to occur with the potential of even more variants in circulation.
Although not likely to be popular we believe that this is sensible and proportionate behaviour to strongly recommend and hope that Northamptonshire residents can understand and support this stance.
Other important measures include ventilation of spaces or meeting up outdoors, staying at home if unwell, and regular handwashing.
It’s vitally important to remember the basics of good hygiene. Following these rules will help protect you and others too from COVID-19 as well as many other common infections.
Coughing and sneezing increase the number of particles released by a person as well as the distance those particles travel and the time they stay in the air. An infected person who coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth or nose significantly increases the risk of infecting others around them.
Covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing reduces the spread of particles carrying a virus.
So cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough using a disposable tissue Dispose of the used tissue in a bin as soon as you can and wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitiser.
If you don’t have a tissue sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow not into your hand.
Sanitising your hands is a good temporary measure after coughing or sneezing but should only be used as a short-term alternative to thoroughly washing your hands.
Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds kills most germs, including those responsible for sickness bugs like norovirus which aren’t killed by sanitiser. How to wash your hands - NHS (www.nhs.uk).