Concerns as Delta variant fuels rise in Norfolk Covid cases

Children at Woodside Junior School in Hethersett help get the message out. Photo: Archant

Diane Steiner, Norfolk's deputy director of public health. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk health bosses have admitted they are concerned about a significant rise in Covid cases in the county.

Coronavirus case rates have risen in every district in Norfolk, with an overall county rate increase of more than 66pc.

And public health bosses said they expected the rates to increase, with Norfolk likely to be a few weeks behind other parts of England.

For the seven days up to Friday, June 11, there were 18 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 10.8 per 100,000 the week before.

The England average was 72.7 per 100,000 - up 52.2pc on the previous seven days.

Because rates in Norfolk have been so low, a comparatively small number of new cases can trigger a large percentage increase.

But Diane Steiner, deputy public health director for Norfolk, said the increase was a cause for concern.

She said: "We are concerned that we are seeing a rise, albeit from a very low base.

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"If that does continue, that would put us a few weeks behind the sort of increases we are seeing nationally, which is a pattern we have seen throughout the pandemic.

"I would hope that, because we are doing so well in terms of vaccinations, that will stand us in good stead as the numbers do rise.

"The numbers of people with Covid-19 in hospitals are low, but we are still taking it very seriously.

"Modelling does show a third wave leading to increased hospital admissions and no vaccine gives 100pc protection.

"So, while our numbers are low, we understand the concerns around the pressure on hospitals, which comes in part because they are trying to work their way through the routine operations which had been delayed due to lockdown."

Ms Steiner said people could help reduce the spread by washing their hands, wearing masks, getting vaccinated, being tested twice a week and that meeting outdoors was safer than meeting inside.

There have now been around 80 cases in Norfolk of the Delta variant (also known as the Indian variant) and that is now likely to be the dominant cause in all seven districts.

Prime minister Boris Johnson this week announced a delay to the final step of lifting coronavirus restrictions, amid concerns over rising rates.

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