Lincolnshire
February 5, 2021 10.53 am

Schools first: Lincolnshire health bosses want slow re-opening of country

A positive outlook for Easter

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire health bosses want a slow re-opening of the country, with schools first, amid hopes of a more positive Easter.

They have been feeding back to central government the need to “make one change” first and wait two weeks in order to test the waters and monitor COVID-19.

They hope that after Easter it will be a “very different situation” with lower rates of coronavirus and a larger vaccine rollout.

Professor Derek Ward, Director of Public Health for Lincolnshire County Council, said: “My preference would be to open the education setting first.

“My preference would be to make one change. It could be a significant change so for example, it might be opening primary schools or it might be opening primary and secondary schools.

“Do one thing. Wait for two weeks. See what the impact is on the numbers and transmission before you then go on to do anything else.

“The problem that we’ve had previously is, we’ve done a number of things all at the same time, transmission of things have gone up and we don’t know which one if any single thing has caused the biggest increase.

“So you can’t then differentially close things back down again because you don’t know what’s causing it.”

Lincolnshire County Council’s Director of Public Health Professor Derek Ward. | Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

Professor Ward added: “I think after Easter, it will feel like a very different situation. We will feel a lot more positive and hopefully, lower rates and much greater vaccine rollout.

“We’ve got two-three months, just keep it going for that period of time, and stick with it, stay home, don’t go out unless you have to and if you are going out, hands, face, space.

“Then we’ll be in a really good position when the spring comes to push up.”

In terms of the South African variant, Professor Ward said: “We have no cases of that at this point that I’m aware of in Lincolnshire.”

He added: “The vaccine is still more effective against the South African variant from the earlier data that we’ve got than our normal flu jab is against flu.

“Whilst it’s not as good as it is against the UK variants, it’s still better than the new flu jab which a huge number of people get. So please, please, please get your jab.”

He also mentioned that it is normal to see so many variants of the disease as it was confirmed earlier this week there are nearly 4,000 COVID variants globally.

The latest NHS England figures show that nearly 130,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Lincolnshire.

Martin Fahy, Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Lincolnshire CCG confirmed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Friday there are currently 104 patients in United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust with COVID-19 – 73 at Lincoln County and 31 at Boston Pilgrim – a “downward trend” but still higher than March 2020.

As of Thursday evening, there have been 11,605 tests carried out across five rapid testing centres since their opening, four being for asymptomatic people and one for public sector workers at the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum (LRF).

Out of the tests carried out, 145 have tested positive, one being at the LRF – making the positivity rate 1.25% in the county.

Some 99 tests have been carried out so far at the LRF.

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