-Statement from LA7 Directors of Public Health on the Return to Plan A
Coronavirus rates across the region have fallen considerably in the last week and the data points towards us having passed the peak of the latest wave of infections. However, our local rates still remain above the national average.
Our NHS and social care services are continuing to experience pressure, both regionally and nationally, and we must continue to do everything we can to protect them. Our services continue to be under increased pressure from staff absences and seasonal illnesses that is a result of the pandemic.
Thanks to the incredible efforts of all our communities, we are starting to clearly head in the right direction, although we still need our communities to take care of each other as we have done throughout.
Our region has responded brilliantly to vaccine take up, including the booster programme, which has had a significant impact on lessening the severity of symptoms of the virus for most people.
Since the moment we started our vaccine programme we have said it is absolutely our best form of defence. That is still the case and we would urge anyone who has not been vaccinated to start or complete their course of jabs as soon as possible. It is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself from the virus and data shows that a large proportion of people who remain in intensive care are unvaccinated.
Once again, we've shown our resolve in following the guidelines and restrictions to help protect one another and the NHS. We give our heartfelt thanks to all of you for all that you have done and the incredible sacrifices you have made.
We know the end of restrictions will be welcomed by many, but may cause concern to others, so please continue to be respectful of each other and do your bit. Please follow the guidance on testing, self-isolating with symptoms, washing your hands, letting fresh air into indoor places, and consider wearing a face covering in busy or enclosed spaces or when meeting with people who you do not normally socialise with. Doing these things protects you and those around you.
While the future is looking brighter again, please remember that we must remain cautious to continue to slow infection rates and ensure they remain low. We are in a much better place, but the pandemic is far from over.
Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health, North Tyneside
Amanda Healy, Director Public Health, County Durham
Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, Gateshead
Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health, Newcastle
Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health, Northumberland
Tom Hall, Director of Public Health, South Tyneside
Gerry Taylor, Director of Public Health, Sunderland