VACCINE EFFORTS: Calls for more resources to assist with the vaccine rollout as cases soar
Redcar and Cleveland Council leader Mary Lanigan says more resources are needed to help with the vaccine roll out amid record covid-19 case rates.
That includes January when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak in terms of cases on Teesside.
Redcar and Cleveland’s coronavirus rate was 1,268 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 14, a 84% increase in the space of a week from 687.6 cases.
Middlesbrough’s was 1,178.9 cases per 100,000 people in the week to July 14, a 50% increase over the same period from 783.1 cases previously.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands its case rate has climbed even higher in recent days, reaching 1,388 cases per 100,000 people on Monday (July 19).
Cllr Lanigan said the relaxing of remaining coronavirus-related restrictions by the Government could not be regarded as a true ‘freedom day’ since infection rate numbers were still far too high.
She said: “The real freedom day will only come when everyone, or at least the vast majority of the under 30s, have been vaccinated.
“I’ve spoken to one of our MPs to ask for more resources to get the vaccines out to our communities and I think the Government should have waited a little longer.
“I fully understand the need to support the economy, but we don’t want to end up going backwards and needing more restrictions once again.”
Cllr Lanigan said she was urging residents to be cautious.
She added: “We understand people will wish to take advantage of the easing of restrictions after such a difficult period, but these infection figures in our area are clearly too high.
“That’s why we’re asking everyone to once again exercise caution and continue working together to continue to take some basic measures to reduce the spread of infection in our area.
“In addition to being cautious and considering others, getting vaccinated remains our route out of this pandemic.
“The vaccines are safe, effective, easy to access and our message is simple – please get vaccinated to keep yourselves, your family and communities safe.
“We’ve come so far together and now we need to look after each other once again to stop the spread of this awful disease.”
South Tees Public Health
Mark Adams, South Tees joint director of Public Health, said Redcar and Cleveland had the tenth best percentage of adults vaccinated against the coronavirus, but the area, along with Middlesbrough, was still being hit hard.
The local authority ward area with the highest case rate in Redcar and Cleveland, according to latest figures, is Redcar Lakes North (1,623.1 cases per 100,000 people), followed by Dormanstown (1,478.3 cases per 100,000).
Mr Adams told BBC Radio Tees: “The impact on hospitalisation is currently lower, but we still have 93 inpatients in [Middlesbrough’s] James Cook University Hospital, 30 of whom are over 75 and 11 of whom are in intensive care.
“The fact that people are ill enough to be in hospital and in intensive care means it is crowding out other illnesses and the NHS trying to meet the backlog of cases that weren’t cared for during the previous lockdown.
“It is creating a significant impact for Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland.”
Mr Adams said he was “very nervous” about the coming weeks ahead.
He said: “It’s down to us, individuals, businesses, retail premises, what we do in those shared spaces and how we protect each other through continuing to wear a face covering and meeting friends outdoors when you reasonably can, those kinds of things.”
The public health chief said it was difficult to tell where the peak would be in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland, whereas in other parts of the North-East, such as Newcastle and North Tyneside, the peaks had levelled off.
Mr Adams added: “The potential harm is still there, we just have to ride it out and think about each other.
“When I see somebody wearing a face mask, they are wearing it to protect me, it is an unselfish act to try and keep each other safe, particularly on a setting like a bus where you can’t control what other people do.”
He said self-isolating when having had a positive covid test or being in close contact with someone with the virus was still “crucially the best way” to prevent the spread of infection in the community.
Written by Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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