"This is no time to celebrate" warning from council leaders in Northants despite falling Covid numbers

Positive tests down, hospital patients down, vaccines up...but officials concerned figures are not falling fast enough

By Kevin Nicholls
Monday, 1st February 2021, 11:25 am

Health chiefs and council leaders are warning "now is not the time for celebrating" after falls in positive tests and hospital cases and successful delivery of thousands of Covid-19 vaccines.

Latest official figures show the weekly number of positive tests have nearly halved during lockdown while the number of hospital beds occupied by Covid-positive patients fell by more than 100 in a week.

And NHS staff have already given Covid-19 jabs to 76,000 health workers and over-80s out of a Government target of 135,000.

Posters spell out the message to avoid spreading the virus. Photo: Getty Images

Yet County Council Cabinet Member Ian Morris insisted: "This is not the time for celebrating a victory over this disease in the county or indeed the country.

"We need to carry on doing what we're doing for some considerable time, I suspect, in order to see things turn around."

Latest Government figures put the weekly rate of positive tests at 309.5 per 100,000 people in England and 308.7 in the East Midlands.

Northamptonshire's number is 353.8 with cases among those over-60 causing particular concern.

Covid rates are still higher than they were before Christmas, according to Government figures. source: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases

Data for positive tests has fallen from a peak of 5,149 per week on January 4 to 2,665 on January 26.

But Nisha Patel, Covid Intelligence Lead for Public Health Northamptonshire, insisted: "The fall is still slower than the national picture and we are still not back to pre-Christmas levels.

"Numbers are still significantly higher in Northampton and Corby than in England and rates among our over-60s plataued in last week. we've not seen as much change as we would have liked which is a real concern considering the risk of hospitalisation.

"So let's not breathe a sigh of releif just yet. We continue to see daily admissions for Covid at both hospitals so the tap has not been switched off completely.

Public Health Northamptonshire's Covid Intelligence League, Nisha Patel

"Complacency over communty infections could still turn the tide on hospital pressure once more."

Hospital chiefs confirmed 295 beds filled by Covid-positive patients at Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital on Friday, compared to just over 400 a week earlier.