March 4, 2022 11.46 am

Two years since first COVID-19 case in Lincolnshire: A look back at how the county coped

For now, we’re almost back to normal

This week marks two years since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Lincolnshire.

On March 6 it emerged there could be up to four cases in the county with suspected links to travellers returning from Italy. Government data would later confirm the date of the first positive test to be March 3.

In the two years since then to yesterday (Thursday, March 3, 2022), there have been 193,476 cases, and 2,030 deaths in Lincolnshire. In North East Lincolnshire the figures are 46,486 and 379 and in North Lincolnshire they are 45,578 and 381.

It’s not been an easy ride, with the government locking down the country several times, and to various extents from entirely closing down all but the most essential shops, to softer restrictions with social distancing, hand washing and face coverings. And we’ve watched as the country was placed under different “tiers” with various levels of restrictions.

But Lincolnshire has handled it well, with the initial year seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of people come together (socially distanced of course) to support each other and the healthcare workers enduring long hours to care for those seriously ill with COVID.

Like with the current crisis in Ukraine, you can always count on good-natured people to shine through the darkness whether it’s just decorating their house, or donating food and other goods to those most in need.

And when the call to action came, the majority of us had our first shot of the COVID-vaccine, our second and our boosters.

According to the government’s COVID-19 dashboard, so far 610,655 people in Lincolnshire have had their first dose, around 85.9% of the county’s eligible population. A total of 582,110 (81.8%) have had their second and 481,714 (67.7%) have had their booster or third dose.

In North East Lincolnshire, 119,250 people have had their first dose, 112,136 their second and 86,243 their third – 83.3%, 78.4% and 60.3% respectively.

Lastly, in North Lincolnshire, 84.7% of the eligible population – 131,989 people – have had their first dose. A total of 124,835 (80.1%) people have had their second and 100,330 (64.4%) have had their booster.

Vaccine centres such as the Lincolnshire Showground are still open and people are still being asked to get their booster shots as necessary, with pop-up stalls opening up in various locations.

The latest figures seem to indicate the pandemic is now slowing down, with headlines about the virus taking less and less space.

As of March, people with COVID are no longer legally required to self-isolate and many grants have stopped. Masks and face coverings are also not required in most places.

The government has also recently set out its Living with COVID plan.

From April 1, PCR and lateral flow tests will no longer be free, while COVID passports will no longer be recommended.

Two years on, and many experts are suggesting the pandemic has become endemic, with the COVID jab set to become similar to that given for the flu.

The big danger in the future will come around winter-time, or if a new stronger variant springs forth.

But for now, we’re almost back to normal.