Northamptonshire's health chiefs braced to deal with "steep and severe" rise in Covid-19 cases

"We'll be taking steps to reduce opportunity for community transmissions," says Director of Public Health

Friday, 9th October 2020, 9:40 am

Northamptonshire's health chiefs are preparing deal with a "steep and severe" spike in Covid-19 cases county-wide.

Director of Public Health, Lucy Wightman, revealed ahead of today's weekly media briefing: "We'll be taking steps and increasing recommendations with regard to reducing opportunity for community transmissions.

"We won't be going as far locally as shutting down hospitality businesses but if we don't respond accordingly then we could find ourselves in that position."

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NHS data has revealed more than 500 new positive tests in Northamptonshire since last Saturday while East Northamptonshire and Daventry are now the two areas with the highest rates of infection.

Northampton, Kettering and Corby have previously been on the Public Health England watchlist as areas of concern.

But Mrs Wightman said: "This is becoming a county-wide issue.

"There has been a significant increase in cases locally and nationally but our spike is really quite steep and quite severe and it is affecting all of our boroughs and districts.

Northamptonshire's Director of Public Health, Lucy Wightman

"Increases in community cases in the north of England have often been followed seven days later by an impact on hospitals so we are keen to try and avoid that locally.

"We are making sure winter plans are in place but we still have an opportunity to reduce that impact by stepping up our restrictions around what we're doing and how we're doing it, making sure we're following all of the national guidance."

Yesterday's Government bulletin showed 118 new positive tests in Northamptonshire, taking the total to 548 since the weekend — although around 70 of those were added after previously being lost in the NHS Test and Trace system.

Northampton saw 38 new cases in a day, Daventry 21, East Northants, Kettering and South Northants all had double figure-rises.

Kettering General Hospital also confirmed the first death in the county linked to Covid-19 since August 25.

Mrs Wightman says the current spike is not connected to workplace outbreaks — similar to one at the Greencore sandwich-making factory in Northampton was in August — nor students returning to schools and colleges.

She said: "A lot of what we are seeing is transmission within homes.

"People are getting a positive test, staying at home and self isolating as they should. But they are not staying in a single room at home so a number of people within that household are being affected."

FOLLOW today's weekly Covid-19 media briefing on the Chronicle & Echo and Northants Telegraph websites from 3pm