North East health chiefs warn the danger of coronavirus rates ‘spiralling out of control is still very real’

The danger of coronavirus rates “spiralling out of control is still very real”, North East health bosses have warned.

North East health chiefs warn the danger of coronavirus rates ‘spiralling out of control is still very real’
North East health chiefs warn the danger of coronavirus rates ‘spiralling out of control is still very real’

In a statement released on Thursday, January 14, North East directors of public health representing Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham, urged people to stay at home as much as possible.

In the joint statement they said that infection rates across the region seemed to have stopped rising but it is not clear yet whether they will fall.

The directors also warned that local hospitals are under “immense pressure” due to increasing numbers of patients becoming seriously ill as a result of the virus.

And they added that while “remarkable progress” is being made with the vaccination roll out, a huge number of people remain unprotected meaning that “danger of rates spiralling out of control is still very real”.

The statement was released amid rumours that Boris Johnson could announce tougher lockdown restrictions imminently.

These restrictions could include having to wear face coverings outdoors, such as in queues for supermarkets. Wales’s health minister Vaughan Gething has already called for a mask to be worn in public places at any point when people leave their homes as coronavirus cases rise.

The joint statement in full which has been released by the LA7 Directors of Public Health states:

“We are seeing that infection rates across the region look to have stopped rising but it is not yet clear if they will plateau – as we saw in October – or fall. Either way, the current rates remain too high for comfort and we need to see further progress.

“People across the region are staying at home and only having essential social contact with others outside their household or support bubble and we thank them for doing so.

“Our hospitals are still under immense pressure supporting increasing numbers of patients becoming seriously ill, and with the more transmissible variant of the virus now accounting for up to 60% of the current cases, we must still follow the regulations at all times.

“Remarkable progress is being made with the vaccination roll out and many of our most vulnerable residents have received at least their first dose already. However, while huge proportions of the population remain unprotected, the danger of rates spiralling out of control is still very real.

“We must all continue to stay at home except for the permitted exemptions, maintain hand hygiene, social distancing and the use of face coverings and do everything we can to prevent our NHS services from becoming overwhelmed.

“Whether or not tighter restrictions are needed in the future will be decided by Government based on the national picture, but for now, we must carry on staying at home and keep driving infection rates down.”

The statement has been issued jointly by:

Gerry Taylor, Director of Public Health, Sunderland

Tom Hall, Director of Public Health, South Tyneside

Amanda Healy, Director Public Health, County Durham

Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health, Northumberland

Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health, North Tyneside

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, Gateshead

Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health, Newcastle

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