Up to 10,000 set to see in 2022 in isolation as Covid cases hit record highs in Northamptonshire

Fears grow over staff shortages among key workers

By Kevin Nicholls
Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 3:01 pm

Up to 10,000 people are set see in 2022 in self-isolation across Northamptonshire after numbers testing positive for Covid-19 hit record levels between Christmas and New Year.

More than 5,500 new cases were reported on the government coronavirus dashboard over five days from December 24 to December 28.

Anyone testing positive is required to quarantine for at least seven days — although Boris Johnson is coming under increasing pressure to reduce that to five days amid warnings of staff shortages in key services.

Despite Omicron being less severe in terms of its symptoms, it is more transmissible, meaning that some industries are struggling to cope due to the quarantine requirements — particularly the NHS, which at one point last week reported a 50 percent rise in staff absences across England.

In England, those who have tested positive for Covid are able to leave self-isolation after seven days, as long they can produce two negative tests.

Professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, Paul Hunter told the BBC that people with Covid should be allowed to 'go about their normal lives' as they would with a common cold — although he added: "Maybe not quite just yet.

"The whole issue of how long are we going to be able to allow people to self-isolate if they're positive is going to have to be discussed fairly soon, because I think this is a disease that's not going away.

Health experts are warning people to follow the government's Plan B as they hit the post-Christmas sales

"If the self-isolation rules are what's making the pain associated with Covid, then we need to do that perhaps sooner rather than later."

More than 22,000 people have tested positive in Northamptonshire since December 1, beating numbers set at the peak of the second wave back in January.

Those who have tested positive for Covid are now able to leave self-isolation after seven days, as long they can produce two negative tests.

Around 100 people spent Christmas in the county's two main hospitals while being treated for Covid. Data showing how many sadly died will be released at 2pm on Thursday (December 30).

Public Health Northamptonshire confirmed on Christmas Eve that 621 cases of the Omicron variant had been confirmed in the county during the previous seven days.

Director Lucy Wightman said: Cases are doubling around every two days, compared to seven days for the Delta variant.

"We are still learning about Omicron and the related risks, so the sensible option is to keep calm, exercise caution, and follow the government Plan B rules.

"This includes testing daily with a lateral flow test for seven days if you are a contact of any Covid-19 case, or before going out and mixing with people in crowded indoor places.

"It’s really important to stay at home if you're not feeling well. If you have any Covid-19 symptoms, however mild, do book a PCR test.

"Northamptonshire has several PCR test sites but you need to book before going. If you can’t book online, call 119."