Weekly report of the Health Protection Board.
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112.8 (down) - Weekly rate per 100,000 people (22 to 28 February 2021)
6.2% (down) - Tests which are positive (21 February to 27 February 2021)
16 (up) - Number of deaths involving COVID-19 (13 February to 19 February 2021)
We remain in national lockdown and everyone is asked to stay at home unless there is a specific reason to go out.
The roadmap to ease restrictions is the direction of travel and that is why we must bring down the infection rates as low as possible preparing for the 8th of March.
Salford’s rates are reducing very slowly compared to the previous wave so we know that we can do much better if we all play our part.
Because our rates are not reducing fast enough, we will be stepping up engagement with residents to encourage testing in different parts of the city where we have high rates of transmission and/or low levels of testing. That way, we can bring down the infection rates and curb the spread.
The new mutation reported recently is being monitored and this could become the dominant variant circulating in our community as happened with the variant before Christmas. When we were notified of a case with the new strain of the Kent variant earlier in the year, we were satisfied that robust action had already been taken to contain the virus. Remember, it is still the same virus to be prevented by the usual infection control precautions. This is why it is so important to continue to reduce all non-essential interactions as the virus is evolving while we are rolling out the vaccines.
We have vaccinated over 69,000 people in Salford across the health and social care workforce, people with a health condition who are clinically vulnerable or shielding and those over the age of 55 years. We are preparing to invite more people in the next priority group who are over the age of 50 years, and urging everyone who has been invited but not yet taken it up to book to get the vaccine as quickly as possible. The vaccines are safe and effective and already millions of people have been protected so you should not delay. Take up the vaccine when offered. Do not wait to be re-invited which can be many weeks later or may be too late.
After vaccination, it will take up to three weeks for the person to start to develop immunity. Having the vaccination should not change your behaviour with hands, face and space because you can still get infected and pass it on. Vaccination will prevent the severe complications and you may not even know that you are carrying the virus, so you must continue to protect other people. You must keep up all the infection control procedures even if you have been vaccinated so you are not contributing to asymptomatic transmission in your household and community, as well as in the workplace to vulnerable clients and customers.
Many more people are now eligible for the vaccine because of their age or if they are over 16 with health conditions; and not just for occupational exposure. So if you are anxious about a loved one who has not been vaccinated, and you are wondering if they are eligible for the vaccine, then please do book them for the free COVID risk health check. If we find they are at moderate or significant risk, we can check if they are eligible for the vaccine and refer them directly, and we can help them access support and advice to bring down their COVID risk.
Salford’s Health Protection Board is closely monitoring the spread of the virus. It is the personal responsibility of each of us to follow the lockdown rules to get the virus back under control. Please contact your GP to let them know if you test positive for people with pre-existing health conditions or you are over 50 years old. This is life-saving even when you could be feeling quite well because we have seen people can get much worse very quickly. Your GP can arrange to loan you a small device over your finger (called a pulse oximeter) to monitor your blood oxygen levels at home. The oxygen level in your blood can become very low without you feeling anything. So it is an early warning to call 999 and this small device can save your life.
You can get the rapid test at one of the testing centres in Salford twice weekly if you have to leave home for work. We are dealing with outbreaks where the staff have not consistently maintained bubbles for example in shared spaces. Also, the virus is transmitting very easily among members of the same household when someone takes the virus back home. You should not be tempted to visit other people’s homes. You would be putting lives at risk.
The Spirit of Salford helpline have continued to support people who need advice or help to self-isolate. Call 0800 952 1000 or contact us online and someone will call you back the next working day. If you are unwell, stay at home and get tested with a PCR test that is sent to the lab.
Every small change we make can have a huge impact.
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