Masks could return to classrooms as COVID cases soar among young

The government’s “Plan B” for winter

There were 830 new cases of coronavirus in Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday, as government ministers have warned masks could return to schools over the winter period.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News earlier that he did not want to return to bubbles or see whole classes sent home following a positive COVID test.

“Because actually, you saw the fall off in attendance which really does harm mental well-being, mental health of children,” he said.

However, he added:”We’ve got a contingency plan, as you would expect me to do… it contains lots of contingencies, including masks, absolutely.”

Mandatory face coverings were removed in May, but they could return under the government’s “Plan B” for winter.

Cambridgeshire has already told schools today to reintroduce face masks amid rising infections and a Lincolnshire school already did that.

Mr Zahawi said 90% of schools were currently open, and attendance is at around 90% “depending on infection rates”.

He later told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that children would be caught up on the education they missed by the end of this Parliamentary term.

The latest COVID stats for Lincolnshire are:

  • 830 new cases of coronavirus in Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday with 634 in Lincolnshire, 71 in North East Lincolnshire and 125 in North Lincolnshire
  • Two further deaths of Lincolnshire residents were confirmed
  • Hospital data, reported one further death at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust
  • Nationally, cases rose by 40,701 while deaths increased by 122

The data shows that children aged 10-14 are the age group in Lincolnshire with the highest infection rates, more than double the next highest — the 15-19-year-olds with a rate of 909.3.

The third highest infection rates are among the five to nine-year-olds with a rate of 569.7.

In North East Lincolnshire, 11-16-year-olds were testing positive for coronavirus at three times the rate of other year groups.

The latest data shows they have a rate of 1,065 cases per 100,000 children.

The number of coronavirus cases across the entire borough has increased slightly over the last two weeks to 353 per 100,000 residents, driven mainly by the rise amongst young people.

A heatmap showing the highest infection rate per age group in Lincolnshire since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccination data released on Thursday revealed that 1,120,963 doses COVID jabs had now been handed out in Lincolnshire.

There were 4,196 doses given out in the past week, 41.6% more doses than the previous week’s 2,963.

Of those, 542,056 were second jabs – a total of 85.43% of the total 634,453 population of Lincolnshire.

Some 564,006 people over the age of 18, and 14,901 under 18s have received their first dose, while 539,215 over 18s and 2,841 under 18s were double-dosed.

In North East Lincolnshire a total of 216,600 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with 103,874 second doses.

In North Lincolnshire, 242,209 doses have been handed out, with 116,550 being double-jabbed.

Lincolnshire’s coronavirus cases up to October 7. | Image: GOV.uk

Elsewhere, hospital bosses have been urging people to consider whether they need to go to Accident and Emergency due to high demand.

In a statement, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust said: “Your health will always be our priority and our teams are working extremely hard to provide emergency care to those who need it.

“However, all our hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole are continuing to experience very high levels of demand and we’re appealing for anyone who doesn’t need emergency care to consider other options.

“We also have high numbers of patients on our wards and a number of Covid-19 positive inpatients.”

The trust urged people call NHS 111 or speak to their GP or pharmacist for advice where possible.


Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday, October 7

120,286 cases (up 830)

  • 78,920 in Lincolnshire (up 634)
  • 19,939 in North Lincolnshire (up 125)
  • 21,427 in North East Lincolnshire (up 71)

2,354 deaths (up two)

  • 1,723 from Lincolnshire (up two)
  • 321 from North Lincolnshire (no change)
  • 310 from North East Lincolnshire (no change)

of which 1,418 hospital deaths (up one)

  • 871 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (up one)
  • 44 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
  • 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
  • 502 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (no change)
DATA SOURCE — FIGURES CORRECT AT THE TIME OF THE LATEST UPDATE. POSTCODE DATA INCLUDES DEATHS NOT IN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES OR IN HOSPITALS OUTSIDE AUTHORITY BOUNDARIES.

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