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Sunday, 24 January 2021

Nottinghamshire Covid Briefing: Vaccine timetable, Tier systems and updates from Public Health Directors

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A virtual Covid media briefing with Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Public Health Directors held today at 11 am.

Alison Challenger – Public Health Director for Nottingham City Council and Jonathan Gribbin for Nottinghamshire County Council updated and answered question from the media.

Jonathan Gribbin – Update:

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Jonathan said: ‘Nottinghamshire – Thanks residents across Nottinghamshire for working hard to follow lockdown measures

‘Covid continues to circulate widely in all of our communities – pressures on local services and local economy. Care sector and hospitals have severe pressures.

‘Grounds for cautious optimism because of early availability of vaccines in early 2021’

‘Infection rates across Nottinghamshire starting to level off or take a slight downward turn – too early to say it’s a sustained downward trend, no reason to relax measures.’

Alison Challenger said – ‘Nottingham City numbers coming down considerably across the whole of the city. But other areas are still a concern. There is a plateau in cases among the over-60s. There are still clusters with higher rates though.

‘Local NHS still under pressure. Hopeful that pressure will ease but takes time to filter through from reductions in cases.’ Encouraged by vaccine.’

Questions:

Q – What do you think about the mass testing programme?

JG – Is cautious about mass testing – JG said: ‘We wanted to do some work on this and will notify people about how we will operate Lateral Flow Tests when we can.

‘Mass testing in my mind sounds like testing thousands of people across a population, something to bear in mind about that is once you start testing lots of people that are  symptom-free you can end up with positives in people that do not have the illness.

‘What kind of impact will this create for local businesses, care homes etc – we need to avoid people without Covid having to isolate.’ ‘Having people tested doesn’t break the chain of transmission – positive tests together with self-isolation does break the transmission of the virus.’

AC – Vaccine available from 9 December – prioritised for care home staff and NHS staff – December / January – Over 50s vulnerable groups before end February – other adults by Spring – these are not confirmed dates but aims as far as a timetable is concerned.

‘People will be approached and invited to take the vaccine.’

Which Tier level could we be in when this lockdown ends?

‘We’re only one week into lockdown, everyone will return to Tier systems – we don’t know if the Tier system will be the same or different to before – or which level we go back into.’

As far as areas are concerned, Bassetlaw has highest rate at the moment.’

Both thanked residents and communities for adhering to national lockdown regulations and stressed the importance of continuing to do so.