Lincolnshire’s coronavirus numbers are low, and suggest natural vaccine immunity could be increasing, health bosses have said. But they warned there was a long way to go, and encouraged students and young people to get the vaccine.
According to the latest government report, despite infection rates continuing to rise, case numbers are lower than previously and the region’s authorities have mostly moved down the national tables for the past seven days.
According to the latest figures, North East Lincolnshire has remained sixth highest across England. However, its infection rate has decreased from 960.7 last year to 908.7 this year.
In Lincolnshire, Boston and Lincoln remain top of the table with infection rates of 409 and 397.8 respectively. Both have, however, dropped down the table from 163rd to 226th in Boston and 146th to 240th in Lincoln.
North Lincolnshire, with an infection rate of 408.6, has stayed near the top of the table, but has moved from 180th to 227th.
The only two districts to move up the table are South Holland District Council and North Kesteven District Council, going from 336th to 311th and 319th to 313th respectively.
Lincolnshire County Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health Andy Fox was positive about the decrease, but warned “it’s definitely too early to say this has turned a corner in any way”.
He said it had only been a week since restrictions had relaxed and that there would have been a decrease in testing due to the school holidays and other variables.
“It’s very hard to say right now exactly what is happening, whether COVID is declining in the country or whether its just an artefact of several different changes going on at once, but it is encouraging,” he said.
“It does suggest, perhaps, that the level of natural vaccine immunity we’ve got in the population is starting to slow things down at least.”
He praised the level of double-jabbed people as “fantastic”.
He said the main bracket of people testing positive for the virus continued to be the 18-25-year-olds, and rates in school children continued to rise.
However, he stopped short of agreeing with reports that the government could require university students to be double jabbed to go to classes, or stay in halls of residence.
“Of course I want all students to get the vaccine, it’s a no brainer for me. The vaccines are safe, so I would encourage all students to get it,” he said.
He said the move would “no doubt be effective from an infection prevention and control perspective” but said there were concerns about personal freedoms and choice. It was a political question, he concluded.
He also noted the economic benefit the university brought to Lincoln and Lincolnshire as a whole.
“We really do need the universities to be up and running… we’re really keen to see them thriving,” he said.
“The safest way to make sure that universities can do the in September, October, whenever they start is going to be getting vaccinated.
“My preference is that everybody just chooses to get vaccinated because that’s the best thing to do,” he added.