Rapid rise in Covid cases across Harborough - health experts urge people to 'unite again' and stay safe

“We have about 194 patients being treated in beds in Leicester’s three main hospitals now – and that’s started creeping up again"

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 5:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 5:42 pm

The number of people with Covid-19 in Harborough has “rocketed” by a 87 per cent in a week.

The rate of Omicron infection in Harborough soared to 510.8 cases per 100,000 for the period from Thursday March 3 to Wednesday March 9, the latest figures show today.

Harborough has now become the worst-performing district or borough in the whole of Leicestershire.

Mike Sandys, Leicestershire’s Director of Public Health

The district is sitting well above the county’s current infection rate of 437.5 and just above England’s average of 502.4.

And Mike Sandys, Leicestershire’s Director of Public Health, fears that the spike in cases in Harborough is even worse than the official statistics show.

Talking to the Harborough Mail this evening, Mike said: “This steep upward trend in the number of people in Harborough with the coronavirus is bad enough.

“But we are only seeing part of the true big picture.

“I’m sure that the real figures are even worse.

“That’s because only a quarter of those who were getting tested for Covid two months ago are testing now.

“So I strongly suspect that many more people in Harborough and across the UK actually have Covid,” said Mike.

“The figures have climbed steeply over the last two or three weeks.

“The national average has gone up by 60 per cent on the previous week, the rate has risen by 62 per cent in Leicestershire and it’s shot up by 87 per cent in Harborough.

“So we’ve got a rocketing number of cases here at the moment and we’ve all got to do our best to get it back down again.”

The county’s alarmed public health chief said the rate of infection has been spiralling since so-called Freedom Day was declared in England on Thursday February 24 lifting all restrictions.

“Far fewer people are testing and people no longer need to isolate if they’ve got Covid or the symptoms.

“I was talking to someone who was in a pub in Nottingham and another drinker at the bar quite cheerily admitted that they were there drinking despite having the virus,” said Mike.

“How stupid can you get?

“It may not be mandatory to isolate any more if you test positive or you suspect that you’ve been infected.

“But come on – we all have to use our common sense!

“You can’t just go wandering into a packed pub because you fancy a pint spreading this highly-infectious disease willy nilly.

“No wonder rates are shooting up.

“I don’t care what the rules say.

“Omicron has not gone away – it’s still very much out there,” insisted Mike.

“We have to live with it safely – but we can’t pretend that it’s vanished into thin air.

“With all that’s being going on globally Covid has dropped out of the headlines on the TV news and in the papers to an extent lately.

“But we cannot let our guards slip one little bit.

“We are also dealing with a new sub variant of Omicron called BA.2.

“It’s probably to blame for up to about 40 per cent of all Covid cases in Harborough at the moment.

“It’s no worse than Omicron.

“But it’s even more highly transmissible,” warned Mike.

“So I am again appealing to people across Harborough and throughout Leicestershire to do the right thing.

“You don’t see anywhere near the amount of people wearing a mask when you go shopping now for instance.

“But I’d urge everyone to put on a face covering when you do pop down your local store for a pint of milk or a loaf of bread.

“Ventilate your homes by opening the windows, let in the fresh air as the weather improves.

“Continue to wash your hands regularly, keep your distance, clean your hard surfaces and meet up outside if you can.

“And above all – get tested if you fear that you do have Covid.

“And if you do test positive I’m calling on you to isolate and not to mix with other people until you recover,” said the county’s experienced public health supremo.

“Unfortunately, it will get worse for me in public health from March 31 as free testing ends.

“So even fewer people will get tested and we’ll be flying almost totally blind.

“It will be like going into a dark tunnel without lights.

“Too many people think that Covid has disappeared and we don’t have to worry any more – that seems to be the general public perception,” said Mike.

“But it’s still very much here with us.

“We have about 194 patients being treated in beds in Leicester’s three main hospitals now – and that’s started creeping up again.

“So I am urging everybody in Harborough – please do the sensible thing.

“We’ve all got to unite once more as a community to combat Covid.

“Think of your loved ones, your neighbours, your colleagues and everyone else out there as well as yourself.

“And if we do that then we will go on to defeat this very infectious virus sooner rather than later.”