Thirty-three new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Cumbria in the week ending 28 August, a small increase of five over the preceding week. A majority of new cases continue to be in the younger 15-29 year old age group.
But Public Health officials are expecting a larger increase in cases next week, following outbreaks associated with people returning from holiday abroad in recent days. Officials are also carefully monitoring the situation in the areas surrounding the county which are seeing new cases increasing at a faster rate and which could have implications for Cumbria.
The greatest number of new positive cases was in Carlisle (+13), followed by Allerdale (+10). Carlisle continues to have the highest rate of new cases in Cumbria, however, this rate is in line with the national average.
Local contact tracing teams are working hard to contact and advise those who may have been exposed to people who are infectious. In the last week, 28 people who were infectious were spoken to, with 48 close contacts traced and given advice.
The weekly COVID-19 update report can be found at www.cumbria.gov.uk/stopthespread
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director Public Health, said: “New cases remain low, but we have seen several groups returning from holiday who were infected abroad and we expect to see them in next week’s figures. Unfortunately, needing to behave in a COVID-safe way doesn’t stop just because you are on holiday.
“These new cases highlight the fact that in many parts of Europe we are seeing really significant increases in the infection rate. We know from hard experience that we are not immune to what is happening elsewhere in Europe, and alongside a slow but steady increase in the UK infection rate we really must be on our guard.
“I understand that the safety measures people are being asked to follow can be frustrating, but they are simple, do make a difference and are things we can all do – so please remember wash hands, cover face, make space.”
People are also being advised to get tested only if they have COVID-19 symptoms (new persistent cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell) or are advised to by contact tracers.
Mr Cox continued: “Nationally and locally we are seeing a very high demand for testing and we need to make sure that test slots are available for those that need them. Most people should not be getting themselves tested on a routine basis, or for symptoms that are not associated with COVID-19. Heading into winter, and with schools and offices reopening, more people will start catching colds, but a runny nose and sore throat are not reason to get a COVID-19 test.”
The key public health messages remain:
- Wash or sanitise hands regularly
- Observe social distancing rules
- Wear face masks or coverings in enclosed public spaces, including taxis
- If you have symptoms, self-isolate and get tested
- Follow advice to self-isolate if asked