Lincolnshire’s health boss has said that at least half of new coronavirus cases in the county are likely to be the more virulent Delta variant.
Lincolnshire County Council’s director of public health Professor Derek Ward said that of the 270 cases in the last seven days, about 110 were the new variant, implying at least half/two-thirds could be the Indian mutation.
However, he said the county has a much better chance of getting enough people vaccinated before the lockdown delay ends than some other areas of the UK.
He said Lincolnshire was behind the curve in infection rises, compared to some of the worst parts of the country.
It currently has an infection rate of 35 per 100,000 in the seven days up to June 15, compared to the England rate of around 75.
Professor Ward said he would be better placed to have a “gut feeling” over the future of the county next week, however.
He added: “If I had to hedge my bets, I would say we’ll keep going, we’ll flatten out, and we’ll come back down, probably over the next six to eight weeks.
“Because of our vaccination coverage and our older population, we are behind the curve in terms of the rest of the country and therefore, we’ve got more chance of rolling out the vaccine before our rates go up too much.”
He said a slower rise would leave the county below the peak of other places and he was optimistic if people took up the vaccine and continued to stick by the rules that the “curve will be lower and hopefully smaller”.
Professor Ward has backed the decision to delay the final stages of lockdown relaxation.
In response to Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh’s claim the county should have no restrictions, Professor Ward said a local lockdown approach had been “problematic” in the past and “hadn’t worked”.
He said the “numbers game” was about stopping hospitalisations and deaths and the current approach was demonstrating a “really strong impact on that chain”.
On Thursday, the government’s COVID-19 dashboard recorded 39 new cases in Lincolnshire, 35 in North East Lincolnshire and four in North Lincolnshire.
Public Health did not show any new COVID-19 deaths of Greater Lincolnshire residents.
However, Lincolnshire Community Health Service did register a further death in its figures. These can include people who use the service but live outside of the area.
Figures released yesterday also revealed Lincolnshire has now had more than 900,000 vaccine doses distributed with around 44% of 25-29-year-olds having at least one dose, and 82.2% of 50-54-year-olds having both doses.
Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday, June 17
61,512 cases (up 78)
- 42,588 in Lincolnshire (up 39)
- 9,845 in North Lincolnshire (up four)
- 9,079 in North East Lincolnshire (up 35)
2,194 deaths (no change)
- 1,622 from Lincolnshire (no change)
- 302 from North Lincolnshire (no change)
- 270 from North East Lincolnshire (no change)
of which 1,311 hospital deaths (up one)
- 816 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (no change)
- 42 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (up one)
- 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
- 453 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (no change)
4,600,623 UK cases, 127,945 deaths