North Yorkshire not currently at risk of local lockdown, says public health boss

Dr Lincoln Sargeant.

North Yorkshire is not currently at risk of being put into a local lockdown, the county’s director of public health has said.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant said that despite an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the last week the county was “not in the ballpark” of areas that are currently on watch lists for infection rates.

Speaking during a meeting of North Yorkshire’s Outbreak Management Advisory Board on Tuesday, Dr Sargeant said despite his optimism people should remain vigilant.

He said: “Over the last two or three weeks we have seen an average of about two or three cases per day across the county and that has increased in the last week or so to about five to six cases per day.

“The cases break down broadly into three categories.

“The majority of spread is in households, so typically one individual becoming infected and passing it on to two or three other individuals in their household. So that’s the sporadic pattern that we see across the county.

“We are also seeing an increase in the number of cases in care homes and this is largely because of more proactive testing. We test people moving from hospital into care homes and the other way. We also test care home staff and we are trying to do that on a weekly basis. So that has also thrown up individual cases that we are following through.

“The third reason for cases is a number of outbreaks, which in North Yorkshire we have kept relatively small, and these are in workplace settings such as factories and hospitality settings.

“The point to make in North Yorkshire is that our rates remain very low and certainly not in the ballpark of other areas that are on national watchlists or local lockdown arrangements. So it gives us some confidence that we are not in that vicinity currently.”

North Yorkshire has an infection rate of 421.6 cases per 100,000 people, below the average for England.

Scarborough, which has the highest rate in the county at 520.4 cases per 100,000 is still almost three times below that of Leicester, which has the highest rate in the country.

Dr Sargeant added that people should not let their guard drop but it was unlikely the county would find itself in the same situation as parts of neighbouring West Yorkshire which were put into lockdown last month when cases spiked.

He said: “I have often said that one has to be vigilant as things can change quickly but at the current time there is no imminent risk of a local lockdown or any additional measures in the county from what we can see in the data.”