Last week, the boroughs of Northampton and Corby were removed from the Government watch list as areas of concern however evidence of increasing community transmission remains in both areas and across the wider county.
Northamptonshire residents are therefore all being asked to follow the same set of guidance as before to avoid a rise in cases and to reduce the likely increase in hospital admissions and pressure on the NHS that could arise from such events, especially as winter approaches.
This week’s surveillance report, an analysis of the recent COVID-19 cases and rates over the period 20 September to 27 September, shows that 148 residents have tested positive with COVID-19 since last week. Four districts are showing a rise in cases since last week, but in each of these areas, this reflects a relatively low number of cases last week. Caution should be exercised in analysing the data, due to a continuation of slightly reduced laboratory capacity to process local tests.
Cases continue to be highest in the 20 to 29 year old age range and in those aged under 19. Both of these age ranges tend to mix more socially than other age groups which could account for the higher case rates. Cases are also rising in the age ranges from 30 to 60, with more females than males testing positive. There are also increases in cases in those aged 60 and over, who tend to be more at risk of serious disease and therefore cases in this age range will be monitored closely.
Incidence rates per 100,000 population continue to be highest in the boroughs of Corby, Northampton, Kettering and Wellingborough, but all areas remain close to the county average. The England rate has overtaken all areas within Northamptonshire, with sharp rises in other areas of the country causing the England average to increase significantly.
Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, says:
“Local health and care agencies have all worked exceptionally hard throughout the last seven months to respond to changing conditions and peaks of virus transmission within the county. Each time we have asked the public to respond, they have absolutely stepped up to the mark, followed the guidance and helped to play their role in reducing the spread of the virus.
"As we approach winter, a time when flu and winter illnesses put our most vulnerable at risk every year, I’m asking that we all continue to work together to prevent the virus from reaching the most vulnerable members of our communities. So I’m asking each and every one of our Northamptonshire residents, to continue to ‘do their bit’ in helping to reduce the spread of the virus, to protect those most at risk, to reduce pressure on our NHS and to save lives this winter.
"If you have COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, continuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste), you should 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 on the Test and Trace app, online or by calling 119. Home testing kits can also be ordered subject to availability.