Preston’s coronavirus infection rate has remained above 100 on the day the body responsible for co-ordinating Lancashire’s Covid response moved from an emergency footing to a recovery response.Advertisement
Latest Covid cases saw 16 new cases recorded in Preston for Thursday (1 April).
South Ribble saw 13 for the same time.
Wyre was up by three, Fylde by three, Chorley by five and Ribble Valley recorded seven.
Preston’s infection rate is now 101.5 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to March 28, up from 95.7 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to March 21. The city has the second-highest infection rate in Lancashire behind Blackburn with Darwen.
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Data for the most recent four days (March 29-April 1) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.
South Ribble’s Covid infection has dropped to 62.3, from 83.9 for the same two date periods as Preston.
Wyre is now at 29.4, down from 57.1 and Fylde is down to 45.8 from 61.9.
Ribble Valley is at 47.6, down from 82.1 and Chorley continued to see small increases to 71.9, up from 64.3.
Lancashire Resilience Forum – the network of organisations who have been leading the response across the county to the coronavirus pandemic – has signalled it is no longer on an emergency footing.
The group said it is now moving to a recovery phase, reflecting the changing status of the pandemic.
Chief executive of Lancashire County Council, Angie Ridgwell, who has led the LDF in recent months said: “The decision to stand down the emergency response to Covid and formally move to a recovery phase reflects the monumental efforts of all Lancashire residents, businesses and partners to suppress the virus by following the guidance, respecting the restrictions and getting vaccinated when called.”
The move comes as the Lancashire and Cumbria NHS health trust said 192,000 people across Chorley, South Ribble and the wider Preston area have now been vaccinated with a first dose.
See the latest Covid vaccination information and stats near you
Dr Jenny Harries has said there is an ‘awful lot to learn’ from the way the UK responded to the pandemic – especially in the first few weeks.
Dr Jenny Harries said more testing would have been carried out if tests were available earlier on, and knowledge about asymptomatic transmission could have resulted in a prompt recommendation to wear masks.
Speaking at the launch of the new UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), of which she is chief executive, Dr Harries told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We were not fully prepared for this pandemic and, as I’ve said, I’m very happy to accept there is an awful lot to learn.
“I think we share some of those failings with many other countries.”
Asked if the initial response to the pandemic was poor, she said: “I think it had merits and it had things that we would wish to improve.”
Read more: Map shows areas of Preston and South Ribble where there are now nearly no Covid cases
She said that while asymptomatic transmission had been “considered carefully”, the proportion of cases – now thought to be 30% – was not recognised.
“So obviously the response that we put in place and some of the interventions were not accounting for that high degree of numbers of asymptomatic cases, so I think there’s learning as we’ve gone through.”
Asked about face coverings indoors, which were not initially recommended, she said: “We’ve learned more, as I’ve said, about asymptomatic transmission, and I think we would recommend face coverings earlier.”
Dr Harries said the issue around testing was that more tests were needed early on.
Public Health England (PHE) has been heavily criticised over a decision to stop community testing and contact tracing last March after it became clear the virus was spreading at a fast pace.
Dr Harries said: “We were using the 2,000 tests a day that we had – maximum – to save lives in the best way we could.”
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