Council calls for return to mask wearing as Covid soars

Covid masks being worn in Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire County Council has advised residents to wear masks in crowded areas as the number of Covid cases soar. - Credit: Zeelo

Residents are being encouraged to revert back to some previous safety measures, including mask wearing, as Cambridgeshire tries to tackle a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases. 

Cambridgeshire County Council made the call as case rates soared in all districts, which could be linked to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants.

"Nationally Covid Infections are rising, and we are seeing that rise reflected across both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as a more normal way of life has been resumed by most people,” a county council spokesperson said. 

"We do know that the current strain of Covid is even easier to catch than previous strains.” 

From the week ending of June 5 to June 26, parts of the county have rocketed from a case rate of 95 per 100,000 people to 467 per 100k, according to figures from the UK Health Security Agency. 

The council says there is currently no evidence that either the BA.4 or BA.5 variant causes more severe illness than previous variants.

Doddington Hospital Minor Injuries Unit

Doddington Minor Injuries Unit, part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, had to temporarily close due to a staff shortage amid a rise in Covid-19 cases across the county. - Credit: Archant

Jyoti Atri, Cambridgeshire's director of public health, said: "We have seen a rise in hospital admissions in line with community infections, but vaccinations are continuing to keep ICU admissions and deaths at low levels.

“As prevalence increases, it’s more important than ever that we all remain alert, take precautions and ensure that we’re up to date with Covid-19 vaccinations, which remain our best form of defence against the virus."

Most Read

The county council said vaccination centres remain open to the public.

But although the council could not confirm when the rise in local cases could start to decline, it wants more people to wear a face covering.

“We would also suggest that people do wear face coverings in very crowded indoor situations, and continue to practise good hygiene measures like washing their hands often and well," the county council spokesperson added.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon

The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the likes of Hinchingbrooke Hospital (pictured), saw the number of Covid patients in its hospital beds increase through the month of June. - Credit: LDRS

"As rates are high at the moment, if you are feeling unwell with Covid-like symptoms, it is very likely that you have Covid, in which case you should stay away from others.” 

In Cambridgeshire, over 1.52 million vaccines have been administered including more than 442,900 booster jabs, according to government data. 

Meanwhile, NHS England figures found the number of Covid admissions to hospitals in the county was low as the number of beds taken up by Covid patients rose through June. 

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust saw Covid patients in its hospital beds rise from none to eight from June 20-28. 

Meanwhile, the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals including in Huntingdon and Peterborough, reached a June high of 65 following a gradual increase. 

Here are some measures that you can take to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and other respiratory infections:

· Get vaccinated;

· Let fresh air in if meeting others indoors;

· Practise good hygiene;

· Wash your hands;

· Cover your coughs and sneezes;

· Clean your surroundings frequently;

· Wear a face covering or a face mask, particularly if you are in crowded and enclosed space.