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Don't drop your guard as COVID cases rise

14 January 2021

Don’t give COVID more chances - stay local and avoid unnecessary trips, to protect yourself and the NHS.

That’s the message from the county council’s new Chances campaign, as COVID cases and hospital cases rise sharply in Norfolk.

The current situation in Norfolk is:

  • Cases at 24,142 since 1 July 2020, an increase of 633, and 7,889 of those have occurred in the last 14 days
  • We have 771 people in hospital (up 23) and 43 patients in critical care (down 4)

County Council leader Councillor Andrew Proctor said: “For 10 months, most people in Norfolk have made personal sacrifices and followed all the rules, to suppress the virus and protect themselves and their community.

“Vaccination will eventually get us moving towards a more normal life. But we must not drop our guard now – especially with the new, more spreadable COVID variant in circulation. Each time we leave home, we give COVID more chances to spread. We all need to ensure we’re following the rules.

“That’s why we are launching a new campaign today, encouraging people to stay at home, stay local and shop safely. It’s essential that, having come this far, we all take personal responsibility to keep following the golden rules – hands, face, space and social distancing.

“If we continue to play our part in this way, we can drive down cases, protect the NHS and buy time for more people to be vaccinated.”

Director of public health, Dr Louise Smith, said: “Mainly due to the new, faster spreading variant of COVID, cases are rising rapidly and the graph of hospital admissions is almost vertical.

“We must all act as if we have the virus and that everyone we meet has the virus.

“By only going out when necessary and by staying local, we minimise our contact with others and reduce opportunities for the virus to spread.”

Norfolk’s NHS leaders have confirmed that COVID is creating major pressures.

Melanie Craig, Executive Lead, Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership, confirmed that the situation was “very challenging” and said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 over the last few weeks and this number has continued to rise.

“We have local plans and procedures in place, including additional surge capacity, for responding to the increasing demands on the NHS.”

Current COVID statistics for Norfolk

Position at 4.30pm, Wednesday 13 January 2021:

  • Cases at 24,142 since 1 July 2020, an increase of 633, and 7,889 of those have occurred in the last 14 days
  • We have 771 people in hospital (up 23) and 43 patients in critical care (down 4)
  • 55 further deaths have been recorded to 12 January 2021, taking the cumulative total to 755
  • 141 open outbreaks in care settings (up 1), 57 in businesses (up 4), 34 in education settings (down 1) and 56 in health and emergency settings (up 3)
  • Bed occupancy, as a combined figure across Norfolk Trusts, at 91.3% as of Tuesday 12 January 2021

Background

The new campaign

COVID spreads easily. Every time someone leaves their home, this creates new opportunities to transmit the virus. Keep these opportunities to a minimum by:

  • Working from home whenever possible
  • Only sending children to education settings if necessary
  • Using online shopping where possible - and if you have to visit shops, only go when necessary and don’t take anyone who doesn’t need to be there
  • Stay local for exercise

Remember to always follow the key guidance of regular handwashing (and sanitise when out), use face coverings when required and keep two metres away from members of other households.

Norfolk NHS statement, in full

Melanie Craig, Executive Lead, Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership, said: “Like areas across the country, the virus is now having a major impact upon local services the NHS delivers and its ability to provide all the operations, diagnostic tests and out-patient appointments, as well primary care provided treatments and on-going patient support. The situation is very challenging. This wave and the new variant are affecting Norfolk and Waveney much more than the first wave.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 over the last few weeks and this number has continued to rise.

“Over the summer and autumn, local teams have worked tirelessly to maintain services across our hospitals and we will continue to maintain as much cancer, emergency and urgent care as possible throughout this current wave of the pandemic. We will also continue to run outpatient clinics as virtual appointments as much as possible.

“We have local plans and procedures in place, including additional surge capacity, for responding to the increasing demands on the NHS.

“The best thing we can all do to protect ourselves; our families and our communities is to remember - Hands, Face, Space.”

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