Norfolk County Council Covid 19 update, 28th January, 2021
Covid cases are starting to fall across Norfolk – but the rate of reduction is slow and we can’t ease restrictions yet.
That is the message from Norfolk’s director of public health, Dr Louise Smith, who is urging people to continue to follow the Government’s guidelines and get vaccinated, when an appointment is offered.
Norfolk’s Covid rate has dipped below 400 for the first time in weeks, to 377 per 100,000.
Dr Smith said: “It’s encouraging to see cases starting to fall across every part of Norfolk due to the national lockdown restrictions.
“We cannot be complacent – the drop is slow and numbers could quickly move the other way if we started to ease off. That’s why it’s so important to keep following the rules, as challenging as that is for everyone.
“It’s really encouraging to see the roll-out of the vaccination programme, so that gives us the longer-term hope that we can slowly return to something closer to normal.”
County council leader Councillor Andrew Proctor said: “In this sombre week, as Norfolk’s Covid death toll passed 1,000, we have some cause for hope.
“With cases starting to fall and the vaccination programme gearing up, there is the prospect of a brighter 2021. But it may take several months yet and we need to keep following rules – hands, face, space and following the lockdown restrictions to the letter.”
The vaccination programme is led and delivered by NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Melanie Craig, Chief Executive, NHS Norfolk & Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The rapid rollout of our COVID-19 vaccination programme continues and we now have 26 sites across Norfolk and Waveney offering the COVID-19 vaccine: three hospital hubs, 21 PCN sites, one large vaccination centre and one pharmacy.
“We have vaccinated residents and staff in 95% of care homes for the over 65s in Norfolk and Waveney/North Suffolk. Risk assessments have been completed for homes that haven’t been visited due to an outbreak of COVID-19 and for the small number of cases where residents or staff were not able to be vaccinated at the point in time the team attended, or due to safety restrictions, mobile roving teams will return to vaccinate them at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to reassure everyone in the over 80s and over 70s groups that if you have not had a letter from your GP practice inviting you to book an appointment, please don’t worry, you have not been forgotten. You will be contacted by your GP practice or via the national NHS booking system to a large-scale vaccination centre.
“If you have received a letter from the national NHS booking system and have already booked an appointment with your GP at a local GP led site, I would urge you to keep that appointment.
“It’s also really important that you attend your appointment at the vaccination site offered to you wherever you can, so that we can make sure as many people are protected from COVID-19 as soon as possible.
“Finally, it’s vital that even after your first and subsequent second dose, you continue to follow the COVID-19 rules and continue to think hands, face and space.”
In other developments:
• Rapid lateral flow tests, which provide a result within 30 minutes, are being rolled out in Norfolk, to pick up symptom free cases
• People who receive a positive result from the rapid tests no longer need to have that confirmed by a PCR test – so their self-isolation and the contact tracing process can start immediately
• The county council has continued to support the NHS and care sector through mutual aid. In addition to around 50 firefighters, 40 other council staff are being provided to the NHS this week, including 20 staff to provide non-specialist support on hospital wards at Norfolk Community Health and Care, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. District council colleagues are also providing support to the NHS.
Latest Covid statistics:
Cases, as of the 23rd January
• There have been 3,419 cases in the seven days to 23rd January – this is 599 fewer, compared to the same time last week
• the seven day incidence rate is 377 per 100,000 – this is a reduction of 66, compared to the week previously
• Covid 19 occupied beds: 697 on January 26th – a reduction of 33, compared to this time last week
• Intensive care: 51 on January 26th – a reduction of four, compared to last week
• Hospital deaths: 1,090 to January 26th – an increase of 57 compared to last week
Outbreaks (as of 26th January):
• 165 Open Outbreaks in care settings (down three); 63 in businesses (down two); 34 in education settings (up one); and 60 in health & emergency settings (down three)
Deaths (as of 25th January):
• 50 further deaths were recorded, taking the cumulative total to 1,080.
Vaccination update from NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG:
• The rapid rollout of our COVID-19 vaccination programme continues, we now have 26 sites across Norfolk and Waveney offering the vaccines: three hospital hubs, 21 PCN sites (with accompanying roving teams), one large vaccination centre and one pharmacy.
• NHS England and NHS Improvement has now approved two more large vaccination centres in Norfolk and Waveney. This means when they are all live, we will have 15 large centres; we are still awaiting confirmation of when our remaining 14 large vaccination centres will open, but we expect they will go live from the beginning of February in a phased approach. At this moment in time, in line with the rest of the country, we are not permitted to say anything further on when the sites will go live, nor where they will be.
• NHS Norfolk & Waveney CCG is working with NHSE/I and local pharmacies to increase the number of pharmacies involved.
• Over the next few weeks, all Norfolk and Waveney communities will have access to a vaccination site within a 10-mile radius of where they live, as more large-scale vaccination centres and hopefully more pharmacies go-live.
• NHSE/I is now publishing weekly data at system level. Up to Sunday, 17 January, the data says we had given c67,000 people in Norfolk and Waveney their first dose, including 37,000 people or 52% of over 80s. We know there is a lag in the data and the real number of people vaccinated is much higher.
• Thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, we’ve been able to offer the first dose of the vaccine to all care homes in our area where it has been safe to do so within the national guidelines for infection prevention and control. This has been an incredible team effort within only a few weeks of the national vaccination programme starting. Our GP-led roving teams have worked long hours to get this done.
• We have vaccinated residents and staff in 95% of care homes for the over 65s in Norfolk and Waveney/North Suffolk. Risk assessments have been completed for homes that haven’t been visited because of an outbreak of COVID-19. For the small number of cases where residents or staff were not able to be vaccinated at the point in time the team attended, or due to safety restrictions, the roving teams will return to vaccinate them at the earliest possible opportunity.
• Our next goal is to have vaccinated all over 80s by the end of January
• We are planning further communications to patients from eligible groups who haven’t been vaccinated yet to reassure them they haven’t been forgotten about and that they will be contacted
• Please do not contact your GP practice or hospital to request a COVID-19 vaccine. You will be contacted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated.
• It’s really important that you attend your appointment at the vaccination site offered to you wherever you can, so that we can make sure as many people are protected from COVID-19 as soon as possible.
• It’s vital that even after your first and subsequent second dose, you continue to follow the COVID-19 rules and continue to think hands, face and space.
• You can find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme on the NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG website: www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination-programme.
• We would like to thank everyone who has offered sites for the vaccination programme. The NHS has now identified all sites we need and we are not looking for any additional venues.
Update on symptom-free testing:
We are working with a number of partners to ensure that rapid lateral flow tests, which provide a result within 30 minutes, will soon be available in various settings across the county. Rapid lateral flow tests, which provide a result within thirty minutes, will be used.
Many people who have coronavirus do not display symptoms and the rapid symptom-free testing will help to find some of those individuals so they can isolate and not inadvertently spread the virus. While these tests don’t pick up on all cases, they can help us identify more cases that wouldn’t otherwise have been found.
Organisations and employers who have staff and workers who would be eligible for testing will be contacted and given details on how to get involved. Critical workers, those in high-risk occupations who still have to attend work, and people who are in contact with vulnerable individuals will be prioritised.
Symptom-free testing in targeted areas of concern will also take place. This has been piloted in King’s Lynn and will be rolled out across Norfolk through February and March.
Anyone with symptoms should book a free NHS test using the GOV.UK website or by calling 119. They should immediately self-isolate and not seek to use the symptom-free testing programmes.
A negative test result will not remove the need to follow existing Covid 19 measures at home and in the workplace, as the person could still be incubating the disease or could pick it up at any time.
Ashleigh Hodge, Councillor Resources Support Officer
Tel: 01603 223237
County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2DH