By Rachael Grealish
New cases and COVID-19 related deaths continue to fall across Cumbria, the latest statistics show.
In the last week new coronavirus cases dropped by almost a third (27 percent) as there was 136 reported in the statistics published today, Thursday March 18, down from 186 in the previous week.
For the fourth week in a row Allerdale had the greatest number of new cases with 47 and the West Cumbrian borough also replaced Copeland in having the highest rate of new cases (48 new cases per 100k population).
Overall, the number of new cases decreased in all districts – apart from Eden which had an 80 percent rise in new cases, however this is only four new cases on top of the five the previous week.
But Cumbria looks like it’s starting to get on top of the virus as rates in all Cumbrian districts were below both the national and regional average rates – 59 and 75 new cases per 100k population respectively.
Unfortunately, another 21 lives were lost to the deadly virus, by week ending March 5 – however this is a 32 percent decrease from deaths in the previous week.
The highest number of deaths occurred, once again, in Allerdale.
Over 189,200 people throughout the county have now received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine this is almost half (45 percent) of Cumbria’s adult population.
There was previous controversy about the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine due to reports of blood clots occurring in patients after having the vaccine and some European countries temporarily suspending the use of the vaccine.
However, there is no evidence to suggest the two are actually linked and WHO, MHRA, Professor Johnathan Van-Tam and Cumbria County Council’s own Director of Public Health, Colin Cox, have stressed the safety of the vaccine and continue to encourage the uptake.
In a bid to reassure Cumbrians Colin Cox told The Herdwick News, on Tuesday March 16, the vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ and is ‘strongly urging’ residents to continue their uptake of the vaccine when they’re offered it.
He said: “The decision of a number of countries to suspend use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is baffling.
“There have been 37 reports of blood clots following over 17 million doses of the vaccine being given – that’s actually a lower incidence of blood clotting than you’d expect to see just by chance, so there’s absolutely no evidence that the vaccine can cause blood clots.
“The fact that these figures are available at all shows just how carefully the safety of the vaccine is monitored, and far from being concerned about it I think people should be significantly reassured that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is both very safe and highly effective.”
The Cumbrian DPH went on to say vaccine uptake is necessary for avoiding a third wave of the Coronavirus.
“A failure of vaccine roll-out is one of the reasons that many parts of Europe are now entering a third wave and further lockdowns,” he continued.
“So if you are offered vaccination in the coming days I’d strongly urge you to take it – it is safe and effective.”
Pressure on Cumbrian hospitals seems to be alleviating again as the number of new patients admitted with COVID-19 Positive status decreased from the previous week in both North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC) and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMB) by 53 percent and 56 percent respectively.
Furthermore, the average number of patients with COVID-19 in beds decreased from the previous week in both NCIC and UHMB by 43 percent and 26 percent respectively.
Numbers of incidents/positive cases remain relatively low in education settings; cases decreased in primary schools – but increased in secondary schools and further education.
Pupils in secondary education are now required to take twice-weekly lateral flow tests and wear masks in all education settings, including classrooms, where social distancing can’t be maintained.
The full list of statistics can be viewed here.