Warning as Norfolk hits 225 daily Covid cases
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
Norfolk is seeing 225 new coronavirus cases a day, sparking a plea for people not to drop their guard when restrictions are eased next week.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the final stage of legal restrictions will end on Monday, July 19 - with an end to social distancing and the requirement to wear masks indoors.
But, amid concern over rising case rates in Norfolk, public health bosses and council leaders are urging people to make choices to help keep rates down.
The council is launching a campaign called iChoose, with Dr Louise Smith, the county's public health director, advising people to keep wearing masks indoors and on public transport.
The council also appeals to people to keep washing their hands regularly, to get tested twice a week, to meet outdoors where possible and to ventilate indoor spaces.
Dr Smith said: “We are in a third wave and are seeing around 200 cases a day.
“Even for younger people and people who have been vaccinated, Covid can still make you feel ill – and one in 10 of those who are infected can go on to get long Covid.
“Whilst legal restrictions are being reduced, the underlying messages remain the same.
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"To protect yourself take preventative actions such as sanitising hands, choosing outdoors and ventilation.
"Please participate in testing to identify cases early and prevent spread. Positive cases and contacts are still required to self-isolate.
“We are already considering scenarios for how we could be affected in the winter and the possibility of new variants.
“That is why it’s so important to make sensible choices – including using free test kits, twice a week and continuing to use the NHS Covid app.”
Dr Smith said this wave was affecting more men than women and particularly younger people aged 19 to 22.
With nightclubs opening for the first time in more than a year, Dr Smith said it would be for people to judge if they were comfortable going clubbing - and to assess what efforts venues had made to be Covid-safe.
Council leader Andrew Proctor said: "There is no doubt we are in a better position than in the first and second waves, due to the success of the vaccination programme - but that does not mean we should drop our guard.
“The prime minister now wants us to exercise personal choice, which I totally support.
That’s why today, we launch a campaign – IChoose - to encourage everyone to exercise that choice wisely.
“Please keep taking precautions to help protect yourselves and others and to keep safe. I’ve already made these choices, to protect others – I hope you will do the same.”
Case rates in Norfolk increased to just over 140 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to Friday, July 9, up almost 60pc on the previous seven days.
Norfolk remains below the England average of 341.5 cases per 100,000 and the East of England average of 248.5 per 100,000.
The council says the majority of cases are in young adults, but there has been increases across all age groups.
The number of people in hospital has increased from nine to 13, with three in critical care.
Every district in Norfolk has seen an increase in cases. Great Yarmouth has seen the biggest leap, up from 61.4 per 100,000 to 243.6.
Norwich has gone up from 102.4 per 100,000 to 216.3 per 100,000 - an 111pc increase.
Broadland has gone up 170pc, from 57.3 cases per 100,000 to 155.2 per 100,000, while King's Lynn and West Norfolk has increased by 189pc, from 45.6 cases per 100,000 to just over 132.
Breckland is up from 46.4 cases per 100,000 to 82.9, while South Norfolk has increased from 63.9 per 100,000 to 134.9.
Cases in North Norfolk are up from 36.2 per 100,000 to 51.5.
Dr Smith said the Delta variant had played a role in the rise in cases and that public health were investigating whether some sudden rises were linked to specific events, such as football fans watching Euro 2020 matches.
She said it was "very difficult" to predict when Norfolk cases would drop.
The number of outbreaks - defined as two or more linked cases, has gone up by 22.5pc, from 40 to 49, as of Wednesday, July 7.
Ten outbreaks are among care providers, up one on the week before, while there are 15 cases associated with care homes.
In schools and colleges there are 23 open outbreaks - a 15pc increase on the 20 the previous week, while there are 14 in businesses and workplaces, compared to nine the week before.