Health chiefs "hopeful" Northamptonshire hospitals won't see Covid patients if cases go up
Jabs for the most vulnerable will help keep patient numbers down, says county consultant
Health chiefs remain "hopeful" recent rises in Covid-19 cases will not lead to more admissions at Northamptonshire's hospitals.
Public Health Northamptonshire is braced for the number of positive tests to go up across the county following last week's return to school and later when restrictions are eased on March 29.
Corby had already seen a significant rise even before the majority of children returned to classrooms on March 8.
Numbers there have continued to rise, leaving the borough with the UK's highest infection rate once again.
But county public health consultant, Rhosyn Harris, confirmed the increase in cases was mostly seen among the working-age population as a result of more testing being available.
She said: "We're not seeing countywide an increase in over-60s cases and we're hopeful that remains the case.
"That is is really positive because that's the figure which is most likely to correlate to more hospitalisations and sadly deaths."
Numbers of Covid-19 patients being treated in Northamptonshire's two acute hospitals at Northampton and Kettering have fallen to below 100 from a peak of 370 during January.
Ms Harris added: "There are bumps in the trajectory of numbers of patients with Covid-19 in hospitals but it is generally downwards.
"We're hopeful that will continue even if case rates rise because the vast majority of the clinically extremely vulnerable and those over 70 have been vaccinated.
"But that is something we're going to look at over the next two weeks because we know that hospitalisations usually follow about a week or two behind any change in case rates."
Health chiefs advise those who cannot work from home to get tested regularly even if they have no Covid-19 symptoms at one of Northamptonshire's six six rapid testing sites using lateral flow devices. Appointments need to be booked for the sites in Northampton, Corby, Wellingborough, Daventry and Brackley by clicking HERE on the county council website.
Those with Covid-19 symptoms — a new, continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change in the sense of taste — should self-isolate immediately and visit the government website HERE or call 119 to book a PCR swab test.