By Rachael Grealish
Cumbrians are being advised to avoid travel to Lancashire and Manchester amid rises in Delta variant COVID-19 cases.
In Cumbria new infections rose 88 percent (71 new cases) in the last week, but for now the infection rate remains below regional and national averages.
Evidence suggests the new Delta variant (originally discovered in India) is responsible for the rise, therefore people leading Cumbria’s response to the COVID pandemic are calling on all Cumbrians to take steps in response to the spread of the virus.
The call comes as near neighbours Lancashire and Greater Manchester are seeing the rapid spread of the new variant and Government advice is that people should minimise travel in and out of these areas.
The combination is causing concern that Cumbria could also see a rapid rise in infections unless people take action.
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, said: “Our infection rate is still comparatively low, but all the signs are now pointing in the wrong direction.
“Unfortunately the pandemic is not over and without action we can reasonably expect infection to spread and increasing numbers of people to become ill.
“New infections are concentrated in the younger age groups, those less likely to have been vaccinated.
“While younger people tend to be less badly affected by the virus, if large numbers become infected because this new variant is more contagious, then we could start to see hospitalisations rise again.
“Nationally we are already starting to see this, with a 27 percent increase in hospital admissions for covid in the last week.
“We have an opportunity now, it is not inevitable that there will be third wave in Cumbria, but this is the time for people to take stock and think about the things they can do to protect themselves and prevent infection spreading.”
So Cumbria County Council is advising Cumbrians to:
- Minimise travel into the Lancashire or Greater Manchester areas.
- If you travel take a rapid result covid test on your return, get a confirmatory PCR test if you test positive and self-isolate.
- Get vaccinated as soon as you are able. National data is showing that around 95 percent of people now being admitted to hospital have not been vaccinated.
- Stay vigilant and follow the basic public health guidance – washing hands, wearing masks, keeping your distance and meeting outdoors are effective at preventing spread.
- Continue to do regular rapid result covid tests at home as part of your weekly routine and get a confirmatory PCR test if you are positive.
- If you have symptoms – new persistent cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell – book a PCR test through the national system and self-isolate until you get your result. If you are positive, self-isolate for 10 days.