Lincolnshire “will be one of the last, if not the last” place in the Midlands to go into higher tier lockdown, health bosses said based on current guidance.
North and North East Lincolnshire (Northern Lincolnshire) will go into the “high” tier 2 lockdown from 0.01am on Saturday as part of tougher measures across the Yorkshire and Humber region from Saturday.
It follows a steep rise in cases, including areas of Grimsby with some of the highest infection rates in Greater Lincolnshire.
The tougher restrictions cover the areas surrounding Brigg, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Cleethorpes.
Bosses at Lincolnshire County Council earlier this week advised public and health officials that there was no need to go into higher tier at this time.
Lincolnshire County Council’s director of public health Professor Derek Ward on Friday confirmed that advice had not yet changed.
He said there was a “significant difference” between the two areas, with North East Lincolnshire at 368 cases per 100,000 of the population, 196 in North Lincolnshire, and Lincolnshire as a county at 160.
Professor Ward said looking at the broader view, the county was continuing to watch the data and the rest of the region, and whether the benchmarks change.
“We’re in the positive because of the way people in Lincolnshire have behaved.
“We’re starting from a lower base than other places and everywhere seems to be increasing at the same rate.
“If you’re starting from further back, you’re always going to stay the same distance behind everybody else.
“If the government continues to change the benchmarks, I don’t know whether we’ll ever go up a tier, or, if the government keeps the benchmarks where they are, everywhere will end up in in a higher tea for the next couple of months.
“But, I think Lincolnshire will be one of, if not the, last places to go into a higher tier in the Midlands, and then we’ll see places in the south east start to go.”
However, there is nothing to stop the government coming to Lincolnshire to start discussions if they felt it was necessary.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to put a national “circuit breaker” lockdown in place.
Professor Ward said there was always a balance because that would have a “significant impact” on business and would only delay the increase.
Though he added: “That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s good because obviously we’ve got to keep an eye on our NHS.
“In Lincolnshire at the moment we’re okay but if you look at Nottinghamshire and parts of Derbyshire they are struggling.”
He said there was “no golden bullet” for dealing with COVID-19 right now and moved to reassure the public that his team were constantly discussing the latest data.
“I certainly won’t hesitate to speak truth to power and give our politicians my view,” he said.
He urged people on border areas such as Gainsborough, Market Rasen, Louth and Mablethorpe, to learn the restrictions and not to travel across borders if unnecessary.