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The danger of coronavirus rates spiralling out of control in the North East still very real – Chronicle Live

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/danger-coronavirus-rates-spiralling-out-19627919

The danger of coronavirus rates “spiralling out of control is still very real”, North East health bosses have warned.

In a statement released on Thursday, North East directors of public health representing Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham, urged people to stay at home as much as possible.

It said that infection rates across the region seemed to have stopped rising but it is not clear yet whether they will fall.

The directors also warned that local hospitals are under “immense pressure” due to increasing numbers of patients becoming seriously ill as a result of the virus.

They added that while “remarkable progress” is being made with the vaccination rollout, a huge number of people remain unprotected meaning that “danger of rates spiralling out of control is still very real”.

The statement was released amid rumours that Boris Johnson could announce tougher lockdown restrictions imminently.

These restrictions could include having to wear face coverings outdoors, such as in queues for supermarkets. Wales’s health minister has already called for mask to be worn in public places.

The statement in full from the LA7 Directors of Public Health

“We are seeing that infection rates across the region look to have stopped rising but it is not yet clear if they will plateau – as we saw in October – or fall. Either way, the current rates remain too high for comfort and we need to see further progress.

“People across the region are staying at home and only having essential social contact with others outside their household or support bubble and we thank them for doing so.

“Our hospitals are still under immense pressure supporting increasing numbers of patients becoming seriously ill, and with the more transmissible variant of the virus now accounting for up to 60% of the current cases, we must still follow the regulations at all times.

“Remarkable progress is being made with the vaccination roll out and many of our most vulnerable residents have received at least their first dose already. However, while huge proportions of the population remain unprotected, the danger of rates spiralling out of control is still very real.

“We must all continue to stay at home except for the permitted exemptions, maintain hand hygiene, social distancing and the use of face coverings and do everything we can to prevent our NHS services from becoming overwhelmed.

“Whether or not tighter restrictions are needed in the future will be decided by Government based on the national picture, but for now, we must carry on staying at home and keep driving infection rates down.”

Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health, North Tyneside

Amanda Healy, Director Public Health, County Durham

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, Gateshead

Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health, Newcastle

Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health, Northumberland

Tom Hall, Director of Public Health, South Tyneside

Gerry Taylor, Director of Public Health, Sunderland