May 28, 2021 10.32 am This story is over 14 months old

Steady view for Lincolnshire as COVID infections low and vaccines prove effective

Vaccination rate helping fend off new variants

Local health bosses are “generally” confident Lincolnshire will remain steadfast against coronavirus in the coming weeks, as infections remain low and vaccines prove effective.

The county is currently defying the national and regional trend of an increase in the Indian variant, with the majority of cases being Kent (the national mutation).

Health bosses have also said the high rate of vaccination in the county (75% had a first dose, over 40% both doses)  has helped fend off the COVID-19 surge.

Professor Derek Ward, Lincolnshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Overall, we’re not seeing a major increase in hospital admissions, even in those parts of the country that have got very significant numbers of the Indian variants.

“So touching wood, all things being equal, as long as we don’t get a variant, that’s showing significant ability to escape the vaccine, which the Indian variant isn’t, then we should be okay.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday that up to three quarters of new cases were the Indian variant – but despite the East Midlands showing similar data, Lincolnshire is not reflecting the national picture.

Of 160 cases in the county in the last seven days, 61 were tested and 59 were found to be the Kent variant.

Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rates from May 19 to May 26. | Data: Gov UK / Table: James Mayer for The Lincolnite

“That’s not to say the 100 that weren’t sequenced, couldn’t all be Indian, but I don’t imagine that’s the case, because the vast majority of those that were sequenced were still Kent,” said Professor Ward.

“At some point, we’ll see that change, I’m sure we’ll start to see the Indian variants be the dominant variant, but we’re not there yet.”

Numbers in the county have stayed fairly static, with the majority in working age adults and smaller numbers in over 60s.

However, there has been a doubling of secondary school children (12-16-year-olds) with the virus, but that’s only from around 20 to 40 pupils.

Professor Ward said increases in case numbers were to be expected as rules relaxed nationally, but reassured parents that measures were in place to minimise the impact of coronavirus in schools, including working with local public health teams.

“Generally, all the schools are doing a fantastic job and they’re so well experienced now that the small number of cases we’re seeing they’re really well experienced with it and they’re doing exactly what they need to do.”

Vaccines are helping to fend off new variants. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

He said it was “fantastic” that 75% of adults had now received their first dose of the vaccine, adding it was “partly why we’re seeing a lower number, a slower takeover, of the Indian variant because we’ve got such good vaccination coverage.”

He said the message this bank holiday was, as always, to stick with the hands, face, space guidance where possible.

He added that if it doesn’t rain, people should minimise their risk by meeting outdoors and get some fresh air.

The same applies, he said, with Imps fans travelling to Wembley or going to watch the match

Sports arenas such as Wembley Stadium are classed as outdoors, however, he said if you are travelling down by coach to stick with the guidance, take a lateral flow test before hand to ensure you are negative and “look after your fellow fans.”