'Covid's not gone away' warning from health chiefs as deaths, hospital cases and positive tests rise in Northamptonshire

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Fresh calls to get jabbed as fewer precautionary tests are being recorded

Health chiefs are warning 'Covid has not gone away' after sharp rises in deaths and hospitalisations linked to the virus in the wake of scrapping coronavirus restrictions.

Numbers of positive tests are climbing despite a massive fall in how many people are taking precautionary lateral flow tests.

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Chris Pallot, director of Northamptonshire’s vaccination programme, said: “The virus is still here."

All restrictions on socialising and mask-wearing were lifted last month. Library pictureAll restrictions on socialising and mask-wearing were lifted last month. Library picture
All restrictions on socialising and mask-wearing were lifted last month. Library picture

And the county's Public Health director Lucy Wightman added: “Covid remains a dangerous disease, particularly if you haven’t been vaccinated."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped rules on testing and self-isolation on February 24 under his plan for living with Covid.

Latest NHS England figures revealed 11 people died in county hospitals while being treated for the virus in the first six days on March — six at Kettering General Hospital and five in Northampton General.

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Patients with the virus being treated in NGH and KGH reached 90 by Tuesday morning an increase of ten in 24 hours.

Covid infections appear to be rising fastest among older people as increased socialising and waning protection from booster shots kicks in.

Official figures showed the number of positive tests recorded daily in the county was 839 on Wednesday (March 9) compared to 285 on February 26.

Lateral flow tests are still recommended to identify those who are carrying the virus but have no symptoms. The daily number of these recorded in the county was 4,951 on March 5 compared to 27,663 on January 5.

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Mr Johnson said last month it was time to be moving from Government restrictions to personal responsibility, ending free lateral flow testing and financial support for those who stay at home instead of going to work when they suspect they have Covid.

Vaccinations have also slowed with 433,456 having had a booster out of the 581,534 who received a first jab.

■ Click HERE for information on where you can get a Covid jab in Northamptonshire TODAY or book an appointment.

Mobile walk-in clinics will be set up at St Mark’s Church, Wellingborough from Thursday (March 10) to Saturday and at Crescent Community Centre, Kettering, on Saturday and Sunday alongside a number of regular sites,

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Mr Pallot added; "Getting vaccinated and protecting everyone is our safest route back to normality.

“The mobile vaccination unit has been fantastic in helping us reach parts of the community who may have struggled to get to one of our vaccination centres.

"It’s really important we make it as easy as possible for people to get their jabs to maximise uptake.

“Every dose of the vaccine you get helps build up your immunity against COVID-19 and significantly reduces the chance of you becoming seriously ill and passing the disease on to others."