‘Don’t just nip to shops’ - health boss reiterates isolating message to ‘weary’ households
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Norfolk’s public health chief has urged people self-isolating to stick to the advice amid signs people are becoming ‘weary’ over the restrictions.
The coronavirus infection rate for Norfolk has passed a new record high. For the seven-day period ending November 11, more people tested positive than in any other week since the start of the pandemic.
MORE: Almost 600 extra Covid cases recorded in Norfolk and Suffolk by mistakeDr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said the latest data showed “a lot of the cases are from household spread”.
But she said evidence suggested people told to self-isolate were either confused by the guidance or are not fully following it.
She said: “It’s essential that if you’re asked to isolate that you do. I’m worried that people are not fully understanding what that means.
“People are becoming weary, but it is really essential that if you are asked to self-isolate that you don’t go out, but also that you isolate within the house.
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“Obviously, we understand that it can be very difficult if you are sharing accommodation but the more effort that you make to separate from others the less likely you are to spread the virus.
“Self-isolating within the household means having your meals in a separate room, not sitting and watching television together, if you do need to share rooms ventilating them really well, and if everyone is sharing a bathroom the person self-isolating should go last.”
MORE: Lockdown yet to bring fall in cases and could’ve made things worse, says expertThe second lockdown until December 2 includes strict curbs on travel and the closure of pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops and services, but schools and colleges remain open as do more workplaces.
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Dr Smith said it remained important that people still only take trips out for essential shopping and services and that they respond and follow the advice if contacted by Test and Trace, after reports of people ignoring calls.
“We are getting a lot of feedback that people don’t feel it is a proper lockdown this time,” she said.
“It is really essential that if you are phoned by contact tracing that you take the call and follow the advice straight away. We have had evidence of people asking them to call back later and rumours of people doing things like popping to the shops when self-isolating.
“Most people are trying really hard to do the right thing, but we are seeing the spread of the virus between people when they let their guard down.”
Dr Smith’s plea was echoed by Dr David Edwards, consultant in health protection at Public Health England East.
He said: “We are in the middle of our second lockdown and the temptation might be to loosen the reigns and become a little complacent but we urge people living and working in the east of England, to dig deep and continue sticking to the advice, which has been put in place to help protect us all.
“As we see case rates stabilising in other parts of the country, it is rising week on week in our region and we need to do everything we can to bring the rate down.
“One of our best defences and something we can all do is social distancing, washing hands, not mixing with other households and wearing masks.
“If you have any symptoms, you should book a test immediately so you and any close contacts can self-isolate and help break the chain of transmission.
“It is challenging for us all but if we work together we can help protect not just those we love but those around us – we all need to be playing our part.”