East Riding Covid-19 measures paying off, says council public health director Andy Kingdom

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s public health lead has said coronavirus measures are paying off with a fall in infections but warned of a surge later this year.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 11:45 am
East Riding of Yorkshire Council's public health director Andy Kingdom said the latest coronavirus figures showed an “improving” picture locally.

The council’s public health director Andy Kingdom said the latest coronavirus figures showed an “improving” picture locally.

Mr Kingdom said they showed a “good drop”, adding a recent outbreak in Humber Prison in South Cave had pushed local numbers up.

But he added the totals were still “very high” and that hospitals remain under pressure as they start to admit more patients with conditions not related to coronavirus.

He said: “There’s always a bit of nervousness about what’s going to happen but I’m hoping this has shown the vaccination programme and lockdown are working.

Mr Kingdom said there had been an “astonishingly low” number of coronavirus cases and outbreaks in East Riding schools, adding: “There will be a whole new system of testing in schools.”

Mr Kingdom said a further surge was expected after restrictions have eased but that its severity would depend on how well people continue to follow coronavirus rules.

He added the Government would be looking at four measures to decide whether to progress as each stage in the roadmap out of lockdown is reached.

The director said: “If infection numbers go up significantly after schools reopen then we’ll have to look at the roadmap dates again.

“This will be a test for us, the schools are the first battleground in this.

“Officials have confidence enough in people following the rules, that’s why they’ve decided to go ahead with school reopenings.

“The Government has said it will look whether the vaccine roll out is going according to plan, whether they are reducing the number of people going into hospital, whether infection numbers could create another surge and contact tracing and what’s happening with new variants.

“If the situation looks good by those measures then we can move on to the next level of easing.

“There will be another surge at some point, that’s going to happen as we open up society more.

“We can’t rush into this because otherwise there will be another lockdown.

“The way to avoid that is for us and the public to stick to the contract we have with each other, we provide the vaccinations and the testing but they need to keep doing the basics.

“We’re in the storm but we can definitely see the shore, but recent outbreaks in workplaces here so we could still be blown off course.

“The things people do now will make that surge less severe, and we’re working to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible which will lessen the chance of new variants emerging.

“I’m really confident about how things will go in our area, but I’m worried that if we don’t get it right then they’ll have to delay the easing for longer.”

Article by Joe Gerrard , Local Democracy Reporting Service