Latest figures show a huge fall in the number of people with Covid in Harborough

The rate of Omicron infection across the district has fallen by almost a third

By Red Williams
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 5:14 pm

The number of people with Covid in Harborough plunged by 32 per cent in a week, the latest official figures show this afternoon.

The rate of Omicron infection across the district fell by almost a third to 764.1 per 100,000 people for the period from Friday January 28 to Thursday February 3.

That’s well below the current rate of 905.8 for England and still better than the figure of 800.6 for the whole of Leicestershire.

The number of people with Covid in Harborough plunged by 32 per cent in a week, the latest official figures show this afternoon.

The number of coronavirus cases in Harborough is expected to continue to fall over the next few days at least.

The downward trend is being welcomed by the county’s health chiefs after the district’s infection rate hit an all-time high of 2,025 cases per 100,000 just weeks ago in the New Year.

Talking to the Harborough Mail today, Mike Sandys, Leicestershire’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are definitely heading in the right direction locally in Harborough and nationally at the moment.

“Our provisional data is also showing that the rate of infection in Harborough will go on coming down over the next few days.

“Harborough currently has the second-lowest figures in Leicestershire,” he said.

“So that’s all positive.

“But there are important caveats here to bear in mind.

“Changes in testing behaviour mean that I don’t think that we’re picking up every case of Covid in Harborough right now.

“And although we’ve seen a pretty dramatic drop the latest statistic of 764 is still well above the pre-Omicron record for the district.

“So we’ve all got to remember that there is still a lot of Covid out there – the virus has certainly not gone away yet.”

Mike said that about two thirds of the steep fall in cases is among people in the parent age group.

“We had a wave at Christmas and New Year but those cases are starting to drop now.

“We still have about 30 per cent of all infections hitting schoolchildren,” said the county’s public health supremo.

“I expect those cases to go on falling with half-term round the corner.

“But we may well see another spike when pupils and students go back to school in Harborough and throughout Leicestershire and start mixing again after their break.”

The number of patients in Leicester’s three major hospitals battling the coronavirus has also decreased to about 210.

“Only a small percentage of those people have Covid as a primary diagnosis.

“And we have only a handful of patients in our intensive care units suffering from the virus,” said Mike.

“Almost all of those very ill people have not been vaccinated.”

The vastly-experienced public health expert was asked what he thought of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement today to axe all Covid restrictions from the end of this month.

Mr Johnson dropped his coronavirus bombshell - including the legal need for those who test positive to self-isolate - at the start of PMQs in the Commons.

“I think this is a bit premature to be honest.

“Hundreds of people are still dying with Covid.

“I always get worried when there is a rush to take all the rules and restrictions away,” insisted Mike.

“Effectively this will be a big national experiment because none of us know how this is going to pan out over the next few weeks and months.

“I do fear that we will see a sudden spike in cases and we are all going into the unknown.

“We are talking about a serious respiratory illness which is still out there in large numbers.

“But if there’s no longer any need to isolate people won’t be testing as much – and how many with coronavirus symptoms will start going out again?

“We still have to be very careful and anyone who thinks they’ve got the virus should be staying at home,” said Mike.

“People might just become a little bit too complacent, thinking this two-year pandemic really is finally all over.

“Boris Johnson and the Government might go on declaring that the war on Covid is won.

“The only problem is that the virus isn’t listening!

“Covid isn’t going to go away just because the Prime Minister or anyone else says it’s all over.

“The only way to beat it, to suppress it, is for us all to get vaccinated and to carry on acting sensibly and responsibly.

“Lifting all the rules and restrictions this month just seems a little bit too soon to me because people are still becoming ill and dying of Covid,” said Mike.

Asked when he’d have acted himself, he replied: “I was looking between the end of February and the end of March.

“The weather’s starting to get better, more people are getting out into the fresh air and the clocks will change in just a few weeks to make our days longer.

“This is all about how people understand and translate the messages being put out about Covid.

“None of us want a sudden new rise in cases and Omicron coming back to bite us all on the bum,” declared Mike.

“So I’m appealing to people in Harborough and across Leicestershire to continue to do the right thing.

“Get your jab, get your booster and continue to err on the side of caution.

“It’s each to their own but I’ll still be wearing a mask going into shops and other crowded indoor spaces.

“As long as we are all sensible and we’re all responsible and behave properly and safely towards everyone else we’ll get through this sooner rather than later.”