Health bosses: Positivity surrounding coronavirus in Northamptonshire but residents must stick to the rules
Hospital chief: 'Please be careful because if we get more hospital admissions we will be struggling again'
Northamptonshire health chiefs are feeling positive about the county's improving coronavirus statistics with very few deaths plus drops in cases and hospital patients.
But they all insist people should keep adhering to the rules and making the most of rapid tests being available for everyone from today (Friday, April 9).
Public health consultant Rhosyn Harris told a press conference this afternoon: "This is something to be positive about and something we need to keep going with as these restrictions ease.
"That's an indication that people are getting tested and getting vaccinated and maintaining those measures: social distancing, hand washing and face coverings."
No deaths of people who had a positive Covid-19 test within 28 days were recorded in Northamptonshire between March 29 and April 4, the most recent week of statistics.
However Covid-related deaths have been recorded at Northampton and Kettering hospitals since then.
Meanwhile there were 402 cases in that same period - a 30 per cent decrease compared to the previous week after a few weeks of 'plateauing'.
But the county's rate of infection remains higher than the national average, partly due to Corby having the highest rate in England.
The county's vaccination programme is also continuing apace with more than 400,000 doses handed out now, with almost all of the over-70s done.
Plus there are currently 29 Covid patients at both Northamptonshire hospitals - but chief executive Eileen Doyle warned they are still very busy with other patients.
"It's all going in the right direction but we're incredibly busy with patients who have got things they need urgent care for and patients getting through from the delays for the last few months," she said during the press conference.
"We're really full so my plea would be to please be careful because if we get more hospital admissions we will be struggling again."
Non-essential shops, gyms and outdoor hospitality will re-open, wakes and wedding receptions will be allowed and the number of visitors to care homes will increase from one to two.
Residents should continue to get tested and get vaccinated when the call comes to ensure the county progresses through the remaining two steps in the government’s ‘roadmap'.
The county’s community-based testing sites are at Lodge Park Sports Centre and Hazelwood Neighbourhood Centre in Corby, Danes Camp Leisure Centre in Northampton, Brackley and Daventry leisure centres and Redwell Leisure Centre in Wellingborough.
The University of Northampton site is now restricted to students and university staff.
If you are not showing symptoms but must work with others, get the rapid test to find out if you are infectious and isolate if positive.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, a high temperaturecontinuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste, get tested as soon as possible to find out if you are positive.
You should also immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test on the Test and Trace app, at nhs.uk/coronavirus, or by calling 119.
If you have either type of COVID-19 test and it is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days – with your household also isolating for 10 days from when the positive person’s symptoms started, or test result was positive if they have no symptoms.
Residents are also being reminded that if they have had the vaccine or a negative lateral flow test, they must still continue to follow all guidance.