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Public Health Officials remind all contacts of a positive COVID-19 case to take an urgent PCR test


15 October 2021

Rapid covid test

As weekly COVID-19 numbers rise once again Public Health Officials are reminding all contacts of a positive case to take a PCR test at the earliest opportunity, regardless of being single or doubly vaccinated or having received a booster jab. 

Volumes of the virus continue to remain concerningly high across Northamptonshire with a further 4,744 cases reported in the week up to 10 October. Rates per 100,000 population in the county are significantly higher than the national average and those in Kettering and Wellingborough are currently ranked as amongst the top five highest in England.

In the most recent week 12 people died in Northamptonshire within 28 days of a positive test, a 33% rise in the number of deaths since the previous week.  
Officials are reiterating to residents that it strongly recommended to undertake a PCR test where contact has been made with a confirmed positive coronavirus case. The PCR test is sent off to the lab and is the only test which will definitively confirm whether or not the virus is present. 
A contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can be a contact any time from two days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms (or, if they did not have any symptoms, from two days before the date their positive test was taken), and up to ten days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others. A risk assessment may be undertaken to determine this, but a contact can be: 

  • anyone who lives in the same household as another person who has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19
  • anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:
    • face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre 
    • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact 
    • been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day).

A person may also be a close contact if they have travelled in the same vehicle or plane as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Under these circumstances PCR testing is recommended, with regular lateral flow testing thereafter if the PCR is negative. 

This week’s surveillance report, an analysis of the county’s recent coronavirus cases and rates over the period 03 – 10  October 2021, shows an increase of 5% in the number of COVID-19 cases since last week’s figures were published. 

Positive cases for both males and females aged 0 to 9 years have increased rapidly in recent weeks and of the ten-year age bands, the younger adults’ group, 10 to 19-year olds have the most cases, followed by 40 to 49-year olds.  

Northamptonshire’s infection rate per 100,000 population for the most recent week is 621.6, which is significantly higher than the national average (358.8). The Kettering area has the highest case rate (779.2) in Northamptonshire, followed by the Wellingborough area (741.5). Kettering and Wellingborough’s case rates are currently ranked amongst the top five highest rates in England. 

Over the last 4-week period the number of cases amongst people aged 60+ has increased slightly and numbers remain high. Overall, more women than men tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 28 days. 

The latest data shows a total of 94 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital beds in Northamptonshire on 12 October 2021, which represents a 2% increase when compared to the previous week (5 October 2021) but a significant 25% increase since the 28 September. 

All local area infection rates in Northamptonshire are significantly higher than national averages. The recent week’s total indicates a 5% increase in case volumes when compared to the previous week and is 88% higher than the total for the week of 6 September 2021.

It is vital that we all try to prevent further spread of the virus and this means living our lives in a COVID safe and a COVID aware way.   

It is absolutely imperative that contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 gets a PCR test and confirms their status. At this point they are at risk of developing the virus themselves in the next ten days and they could spread the virus to others, even before any symptoms begin, so any negative PCR test should then be follow up with regular lateral flow tests.

We are still all in this together and we must do all we can in protecting ourselves and each other. If you test positive after your PCR, you can help the NHS contact people who may have in turn caught the virus from you. They can then self-isolate and avoid passing it on to others.

The parents and carers of young people aged between 12-15 years old are also being reminded that they will receive information about when and where vaccinations will be given before the half term holiday. The message is don’t contact us, we will contact you.
Lucy Wightman, Joint Director of Public Health, North and West Northamptonshire Councils