Enjoy your summer holidays but remember that Covid infection rates are rising again, people in Harborough are being told today.
The crystal clear message to families across the district is being issued by Leicestershire’s Director of Public Health Mike Sandys.
He’s spoken to the Harborough Mail about the threat still posed by the coronavirus as thousands of pupils break up from school today to start their summer breaks.
“This is what I’d say to parents and everyone else across the board in a nutshell – have a fantastic time if you’re going away but don’t let your guard down.
Harborough residents urged to be extra vigilant this summer as Covid-19 infection rates start to climb again
Campaigner who has fought for years to save threatened Harborough district hospital says, 'we're almost there'
New procedure at St Luke’s Hospital in Harborough has potential to save many lives
Surgery in Harborough district warned to urgently improve by healthcare watchdog chiefs
A view from inside Gartree prison: How prisoners and staff near Harborough have dealt with Covid
“Covid is still very much out there.
“The rate of virus infection has been going up by about 30 per cent a week in Leicestershire over the last few weeks,” said Mike.
“That steady rise is being fuelled by the new BA4 and BA5 variants of the virus.
“The good thing is that we are not seeing a huge spike in cases.
“I’ve heard it described it as a swell of new cases rather than a wave – and that’s an excellent way of putting it.
“And at least we are very much in the summer – and the long days and sunny weather are here.
“So that’s got to be positive as people spend far more time outdoors,” said the county’s vastly-experienced public health chief.
“I know a fair few people who have contracted Covid – and it is here in significant numbers.
“We are seeing more outbreaks in local care homes and there are more people in hospital with the virus.
“It is having an impact.
“But I’m more worried about the autumn and winter to be honest,” insisted Mike.
“The latest figures show that about one in 35 people throughout the East Midlands were testing positive for Covid in the last week or so.
“That’s slightly below the national average rate of about one in 30 people.
“Between 150 and 200 people per 100,000 in the city and across the county currently have the virus as far as we can tell.
“So my advice to people in Harborough is simple,” added Mike.
“Enjoy the sunshine, make the most of getting out and about and going away for a week or two this summer.
“But continue to be sensible – and ensure that you’re fully vaccinated.
“Wash your hands, don’t get too close to other people in shops and pubs or where ever and wear a face covering in busy public spaces if you’re more comfortable doing that.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Louise Richardson, Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “Many families are rightly looking forward to their summer holiday this year.
“It will be the first break for a long time that many people will take without restrictions.
“Of course, we want to see the back of Covid-19 but it’s still part of our daily lives,” said Cllr Richardson.
“We can all take steps to avoid it spreading – which will help everyone enjoy healthy holidays.”
Check out the latest advice on staying safe, testing, staying home, and travelling at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Information on the Covid vaccine and where to get it in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland is available at: https://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/my-health/coronavirus-advice/coronavirus-vaccine/