Health bosses have warned Nottinghamshire could face a ‘resurgence’ of coronavirus cases when the country comes out of lockdown.

Officials are concerned the county’s rate of infection still remains significantly higher than average and loosening restrictions could “cause problems” if they do not come down.

The current rate in England is 118 cases per 100,000 while in the East Midlands it is 171. In Nottingham it stands at 188 and in Nottinghamshire, the rate is 193 per 100,000.

Public Health director for the county, Jonathan Gribbin, said there was a “high degree of variation” with some areas showing increasing rates.

Speaking at a Public Health briefing on Friday, February 26, he said: “That’s a problem for us potentially, because coming out of lockdown with rates anything like as high as this means that we will run a high risk of resurgence sooner or later which would threaten the NHS.

“None of us want that. We don’t want that to happen at all.”

Mr Gribbin explained it would be important to keep going with all restrictions even as the roadmap unfolds from March 8.

“We’re not on the starting line,” he said.

“And even then it doesn’t represent a general relaxation of measures.”

Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottingham

Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottingham

He added: “If we want our communities in Nottinghamshire to stay ‘on the road’ it’s going to be really important that we continue to stick to the rules.

“I think we will find them largely unchanged through most of March.

“For the time being we need to keep focusing on the things that have been important over the last several months that has started to bring rates down

Mr Gribbin also gave a reminder that the dominant strain of Covid-19 in Nottinghamshire is the Kent variant, known as B117, which is described as being more transmissible.

“And so to achieve the same rate of suppression we actually have to work much harder at that now than we would have had to six months ago,” Mr Gribben said.

He explained in the coming weeks, authorities would be looking to expand testing to encourage it to become “a part of everyday life”.

He said: “In the weeks ahead we’re also going to have the opportunity to see test kits – lateral flow tests – also provided through collect points.

“All of this is really a part of making getting tested, even without symptoms, a routine and normal part of everyday life and that’s going to be part of the bigger set of things we need to put together which will enable us to live with Covid in a way that is thoroughly confident but also thoroughly safe.”

Director of Public Health for Nottingham city, Alison Challenger said the roadmap was “really optimistic”.

But, she added: “This is gradual, it’s not going to happen overnight.

“We have lots of people vaccinated, but we still have quite a lot of Covid circulating in our community and particularly in the Midland area – particularly around Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – so we really have to bear that in mind.

“One of the things a roadmap is suggesting to us is that there is still no household indoor mixing even for the whole of March.”

She added: “If you need to go out, and meet other people as part of your work, we would encourage you to build in testing as part of your weekly routine.

“We will have these testing sites for as long as we need to until we’re absolutely sure that the rates are coming down and staying down.”

The rate in Nottingham had reduced from 231 the previous week to 188 but Ms Challenger said it was not happening quickly.

She added: “What we’re seeing looking ahead is that it’s slowing down again.

“So with England at around the 100 mark now we’re still adrift from that, we’ve still got a job to do to bring those case rates down.”

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