Covid cases in North Yorkshire levelling off, officials say

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Coronavirus cases appear to be levelling off in North Yorkshire but residents must remain vigilant to avoid a “Christmas crackdown”, officials have warned.

Leaders at the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum told a briefing there is early evidence to suggest rising Covid trends are starting to slow and that the effects of the strict national shutdown will become clearer in the coming weeks.

But the body – which is made up of council, emergency service and health officials, – said it was still too early to say what local restrictions the region could face over the festive period which remains a major uncertainty for families and businesses.

Richard Webb, the county’s corporate director of health and adult services, said: “We need resolution and determination to keep to the rules, reduce the spread of infection and give us the best chance for some kind of normal Christmas.

“At this stage it is too early to predict what the situation may be. Some of the figures that we are still seeing would indicate we could have a higher level of restrictions unless we really crackdown together.

“What we want is a Christmas cracker rather than a Christmas crackdown.”

Figures show Richmondshire’s daily average positive tests over the previous seven days has fallen from 22.6 cases per day being reported to 20.6 cases up until November 11.

There were also just 29 positive tests over the last four days, suggesting the daily average rate should continue to fall.

Richmondshire’s confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The worst affected areas of North Yorkshire have also seen falling rates, with rates appearing to fall in Harrogate and Scarborough.

Figures show Harrogate’s weekly infection rate of 241 cases per 100,000 people has fallen below the national average (258) for the first time in almost four weeks.

The number of coronavirus admissions to Harrogate Hospital also appears to have stabilised with 27 patients receiving treatment – the same number as last week.

It comes as government officials are trying to work out an approach to Christmas to enable families to get together. But before then, the nation must make a safe exit from the second shutdown which is due to end on December 2.

Regions will be placed back into a tiered local lockdown system – similar to the one introduced in October. It raises more uncertainty over how this will work in North Yorkshire and whether the county should be treated on a regional or district level.

North Yorkshire entered the national lockdown under Tier 1, however, the county’s director of public health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, said the lowest level of restrictions “didn’t really work” well enough to keep infections under control.

“It didn’t give the public a sense of the seriousness of the situation,” he said.

“We are hopefully beginning to see – particularly in the data around hospitalisations  – perhaps the start of a plateauing.

“We expect the effect of the lockdown beginning to show this week into next, but there is some suggestion we might be levelling off.”

Dr Sargeant also warned people are more likely to catch coronavirus from family rather than strangers.

He said it is close contacts – often during gatherings of beloved friends and family – that is driving the spread of the virus.

“The virus told us most of its secrets earlier in the year – it spreads among those we trust and are close to,” he said.

“We don’t really get a lot of spread from strangers. I know people like to point to visitors and all kinds of extraneous factors but actually the person you are more likely to get Covid from is somebody you know.

“If we are going to make a difference we have to think about our interactions.

“We know it’s difficult and people haven’t seen loved ones for some time, but if we take action now there is a good chance that we can have some easing of restrictions and some resemblance of Christmas.”

2 Comments

  1. Would be helpful if the information was more up to date and drilled down into the numbers. Richmondshire is a large area and no detail about where the most case are in that area are not helpful. I am sure if we all knew where cases were we would adjust our behaviour. The last numbers I saw referred to Leyburn, Middleham and Hunton. Not sure why Hunton enters the mix but again doesn’t inform where the most vigilance is required.

    • I agree with John Morton. An area breakdown would be more valuable, prevent infection risk and save lives. Please can we have this information!!

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