January 6, 2022 4.59 pm

Lincolnshire COVID wave expected to peak within days

Omicron wave to peak around January 12 after ‘massive increase’ from schools

By Local Democracy Reporter

COVID cases in Lincolnshire are expected to peak within days on or around January 12.

The prediction by the council’s public health teams anticipates another “massive increase” in cases from schoolchildren returning to the classroom this week.

However, they hope that cases will start dropping rapidly after that.

The massive wave of Omicron is putting care homes and public services under strain, with some elderly residents unable to be discharged because of outbreaks.

Acting director of North East Lincolnshire public health Geoff Barnes says Covid precautions are particularly important until the surge has passed.

“It’s hard to predict when cases will peak, but this is our estimate given the return of schools this week,” he said.

“We saw exceptionally high rates last week driven by young adults and Christmas festivities, along with vaccine coverage not being as good as we would like.

“We are waiting to see what happens with children now back in classrooms, as there is a lot of uncertainty there.

“We are already getting reports of schoolchildren testing positive after bringing it from home, which means it is circulating in schools.

“There could be a massive increase, but hopefully rates will be heading down again by the end of next week.

“Once it has peaked, it won’t drag on for weeks and weeks like previous waves. Omicron is so infectious that most people will have caught it quickly.

“We will see a fairly steep drop – it will probably look like a cliff face.

“Covid has already been through schools once in October and November, which will give children some protection. If that hadn’t happened, the next week would be really concerning.”

North East Lincolnshire has reported 2,923 confirmed cases in the seven days up to December 31 – more than double the previous week.

The Omicron wave is causing problems for all kinds of businesses, including health and care sectors.

“The enormous numbers that are testing positive will have an impact right across the economy,” Mr Barnes said.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a perfect storm with care home outbreaks which are blocking the system.

“Staff are testing positive which means vulnerable residents who have been in hospital – for Covid or other reasons – can’t be discharged yet, and have to stay in hospital.

“Other council services have been under pressure but have continued to deliver.”

The public health director has urged the public to be careful as Omicron continues to spread quickly through the community.

“People should continue to be be cautious over the next few weeks, especially indoors where Omicron thrives,” he said.

“It is reassuring that we have seen more people start to come forward for their first dose in recent weeks – it is never to late to get vaccinated.

“The data is showing that the vaccination does make a real difference in how severe the illness is. There are free walk-in clinics running for all eligible age groups.”

He also said there is not likely to be a shortage of lateral flow tests, with around 100,000 being delivered to the Humber region.

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