Harborough health chiefs urge people to keep calm and carry on doing the right thing to beat covid
The county's director of public health is seeking to reassure residents
Health chiefs are urging people in Harborough to keep calm and carry on doing the right thing to beat Covid amid national fears that this Christmas will be cancelled.
The rallying cry came from Mike Sandys, Leicestershire’s Director of Public Health, as worries grow that the new Omicron strain will trigger new restrictions and lead to festive parties being called off.
He spoke out as he revealed that the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Harborough fell to 498.2 per 100,000 from November 20-November 26.
“It’s clearly good that the figure has come down and there is light at the end of the tunnel in the district.
“Harborough sits just about in the middle of the latest figures for Leicestershire – with some areas of the county doing better and some faring worse,” Mike told the Harborough Mail.
“The current rate of infection for England as a whole is 441 per 100,000.
“Four out of every 10 cases in Harborough have been hitting the under-20s.
“Over the last week we’ve had 420 cases – with 108 among secondary schoolchildren and 50-60 cases in primary schools.
“The direction of travel locally is heading the right way.
“And my over-riding message as we head towards Christmas is simply this – stay calm and keep doing the right thing,” said the county’s public health supremo.
“It feels a bit like the early days of the Covid pandemic in March last year at the moment with a real sense of panic about.
“None of us needs to panic.
“But we have to behave sensibly, properly and responsibly.
“I would call on people in Harborough as elsewhere to always wear a face covering when you go into a shop.
“That’s mandatory now anyway, it’s not a choice, but I’ve still seen some people going into supermarkets without one,” said Mike.
“Protect yourself and protect others too.
“Continue to wash your hands, ventilate your homes and buildings and clean down all tops and surfaces.
“Take a lateral flow test before you go along to a Christmas party or get-together or what ever to make sure you haven’t got Covid.
“And make sure that you get your booster jab.
“Your level of protection against catching the virus must be as high as you can make it.”
Asked about the new threat posed by the Omicron variant from southern Africa starting to sweep the world, Mike replied: “We simply don’t know yet if it’s going to turn out to be a really tricksy or horrible little thing.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty.
“We don’t know for sure if it’s going to be more transmissible than other existing strains.
“Omicron might evade the vaccines we’ve got – but it might not.
“And will it cause more severe illness among victims?
“But I do get the feeling that the experts are more worried about this particular variant.
“There is a reason that our scientists, much brighter people than me, are more concerned about its make-up compared to other types of the virus,” said Mike.
“So the jury is still very much out on Omicron.
“We haven’t had any cases of it yet here in Harborough or Leicestershire.
“But that could obviously change down the line.
“I do know that we have to clamp down on it now before it’s too late.
“It’s always best to be safe rather than sorry.
“And none of us want any more national Covid lockdowns – especially with Christmas fast approaching.
“The number of Covid patients in our hospitals in Leicester has now dropped below 100 to 80 odd – and that’s obviously very positive.
“That’s down to many more people being vaccinated,” said Mike.
“I’m relying on the people of Harborough behaving well and continuing to take all the necessary precautions as they have done for so long now.
“Heed the messaging and act sensibly and we will all get through this coronavirus pandemic.”