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Continue with protective measures as Plan B rules are lifted


21 January 2022

Photo of a man being vaccinated

With a further 7,966 residents testing positive for COVID-19 this week, Northamptonshire’s Director of Public Health has recommended that people should continue with everyday protection against infection, as Plan B rules are lifted.

These include washing hands regularly, ventilating indoor spaces, getting jabbed, testing twice weekly and choosing to wear a mask.

The government announced on Wednesday 19 January that the measures put in place under plan B in England were to be lifted:

  • Residents are no longer being asked to work from home if they can. They are being urged to talk to their employer to agree arrangements to return to your workplace.
  • Staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges are no longer required to wear a face covering in classrooms.
  • From 27 January we won’t have to wear a face covering on public transport and in the shops. The government instead suggests we continue to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where we may come into contact with people we do not normally meet. From this date we’ll also no longer need to show a NHS COVID Pass at venues and events by law.

The government has however made it clear that we should all continue to follow safer behaviours to protect ourselves and others:

  • Get vaccinated and get your booster dose
  • Wear a face covering in most indoor public places and where distancing is difficult
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer
  • Get tested and self-isolate if required

This message is fully endorsed by Northamptonshire’s Public Health team.

As a county we are not out of the woods yet, but we are once again travelling in the right direction. COVID-19 cases have reduced by 31% this week which is very encouraging. We are all at a point now where we know the science and we know what to do to protect ourselves and others from the virus. If we all maintain some simple protection from infection measures, we will keep ourselves and others safe from the disease.

We can’t always see others clinical vulnerability so hand washing, testing twice weekly, getting a PCR if symptomatic, keeping a distance from those when out and about, getting jabbed and ventilating whilst indoors will all contribute to this. I for one will also continue to wear a face mask when out shopping and on public transport. That is my personal choice, but I believe it to be the right choice and I encourage residents to feel free do the same.

If you have had COVID-19 recently and you are waiting the full 28 days before you get your jab or your booster, remember that you can book up to six weeks ahead so save the date and get it in your diaries now. Vaccination remains one of the most important things we can all do to protect ourselves and each other.
Lucy Wightman Joint Director of Public Health - North and West Northamptonshire Councils

Booking a booster online

The Public Health team would also like to remind residents that 16 and 17 year olds can now book a booster dose online.

Parents and guardians of people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 between 12 to 15 years old, or those living with people at higher risk, will also be contacted to book a booster.

Also, please remember that the rules have now changed and you can stop self-isolating at the start of day 6 if you get two negative rapid lateral flow test results on days 5 and 6 and do not have a temperature. Tests must be at least 24 hours apart. If either test is positive, wait 24 hours before testing again.

Infection rates in Northamptonshire

The Omicron variant is still virulent in Northamptonshire and our coronavirus infection rate per 100,000 population remains high at 1067.1.

This weeks’ data surveillance report, an analysis of the county’s recent coronavirus cases and rates over the period 10 January and 16 January 2022, shows:

  • 7,966 residents tested positive for COVID-19 this week. This is a welcome decrease of 31% compared with the previous week.
  • Northamptonshire’s infection rate per 100,000 population is 1067.1 which is statistically significantly higher than the national average (1035.7).
  • The highest rates locally are Corby (1287.8) and Northampton (1201.2)
  • West Northamptonshire’s rate is 1072.5, similar to the Northamptonshire average but significantly higher than the national average.
  • North Northamptonshire’s rate is 1060.8, similar to the Northamptonshire and national average.
  • 18 people died in Northamptonshire within 28 days of a positive test.
  • Overall, more women than men tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 28 days.
  • The age group with the most positive cases for both males and females was predominately 30- to 39-year-olds, followed closely by 20- to 29-year-olds; the 40 to 49 group also remain high when compared to the previous week.
  • Positive cases for both males and females aged 0 to 9 years have increased when compared to the previous week.
  • Over the last 4-week period the number of cases amongst people aged 60+ have increased, numbers remain high.
  • The latest data shows a total of 158 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital beds in Northamptonshire on 18 January 2022, which represents a 2% decrease when compared to the previous week (11 January 2022).