Lancashire is a county facing significant challenges during the outbreak of coronavirus, the county’s director of public health said.Advertisement
With 3,313 confirmed cases reported in the area covered by Lancashire County Council, the county is one of the hardest hit areas outside of London.
Thanks to the efforts of residents in sticking to social distancing guidance, the rate of infection is beginning to slow, but we are not out of the woods yet, leaders say.
Speaking in a question and answers session with Blog Preston and LancsLive, Dr Sakhthi Kurananthi, Lancashire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said some of the difficulties stem from pre-coronavirus times.
Issues such as poverty, lifestyle and access to services cause significant challenges with public health.
Dr Sakthi also said compliance with ‘stay home’ guidance and rate of testing could also contribute to the figures.
He said: “The curve is flattening. It is not by medicine, is not by magic. It is simply because people are following the advice.”
Full video interview can be seen below
Since the country went into lockdown on March 23, residents have been told to stay at home unless they are shopping for essentials, collecting medicine, going to work as a key worker or exercising.
Dr Sakthi said: “People in Lancashire have stuck to the message. That is the only way we could have seen this curve flattening. A big thumbs up to everyone.
“But we are not out of the woods yet. That is my worry in terms of forward looking. We have a very, very fragile few weeks ahead.”
Read more: Latest news from Blog Preston
He explained there is a period of five or six weeks between contracting the virus and going into hospital, or a patient dying – approximately the time we have been in lockdown.
“This is the most suppressed state, in a way, for the virus,” Dr Sakthi said.
“If we let down our guard… it’s very enticing. If we do break the rules… then the danger is that we will unfortunately see the cases rise.
“This virus is dangerous, it’s not like a simple flu.”
Dr Sakthi says he can understand the frustration, especially for people with children, but that the measures are worth it to protect ourselves and others around us – especially the vulnerable.
“The NHS would soon be swamped,” he added. “The impact would be huge if we didn’t follow the advice and stay at home.”
Lancashire County Council and the NHS are working hard to protect the most vulnerable people in society and ensure vital services are maintained.
Read more: Personal protective equipment supplies are on their way to care homes in Lancashire
Changes have been made to the way GP and hospital services are delivered to triage patients and segregate those who may be suffering symptoms of coronavirus.
Professionals are urging anyone who needs medical or welfare support to continue to access the services they need, and not delay seeking help.
Dr Sakthi said: “There is enough protection for people who need to be seen for things like heart attacks or broken legs. We are asking people not to put off seeking help when they need it.
“The NHS is still there. Our services that are still critical are still open.
“People are scared of going into hospital. They are scared they will catch the virus.
“Absolutely there’s a risk but the virus isn’t in the air, it is on the surfaces.
“The overarching message is still ‘stay at home’, but don’t put off asking for help.
“We are here, we are open.”
How are you coping with lockdown? Let us know in the comments section.