This week's surveillance report, an analysis of the recent coronavirus cases and rates over the period 07 to 13 December, shows that 1,243 residents have tested positive with COVID-19 since last week's data was published.
As Christmas draws nearer Public Health officials are calling for residents to exercise a high degree of personal responsibility – especially when coming into contact with people over the age of 60, who tend to be at greater risk of more severe disease. Figures are continuing to show that coronavirus related hospital admissions and deaths are continuing to rise in the over 60s. Nearly 24% of all hospital beds are currently occupied by COVID positive patients, with many normal NHS services stood down.
Northamptonshire as a whole, and all districts and boroughs, have seen an increase in cases compared to the previous week. The case rate for East Northamptonshire has increased sharply and all other districts and boroughs apart from Northampton, which remains above the national average, have seen increases in rates in recent days.
The virus is also thriving in the county's working population and the age group with the most positive tests this week is the 40 to 49 year olds, both men and women.
Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, says:
"Despite the announcement that the county is to remain in Tier 2, Northamptonshire, and particularly Northampton, is a hair's breadth away
from moving into Tier 3. We are asking people to remain vigilant and reminding them that just because you can doesn't mean should.
"We may not have been placed in Tier 3 on Thursday 17 December but we must brace ourselves for this happening after Christmas if cases do not drastically reduce. Follow the simple and effective measures; wash hands regularly, wear a face covering, keep a safe distance and let fresh air in.
"At the moment I am still deeply concerned about the rising trend of cases as we head into more relaxed restrictions over the festive period. The last thing anyone wants to give the ones they love for Christmas is COVID-19, so we all need to be extra cautious.
"I urge you to think very carefully about meeting your loved ones indoors over the festive period. This year has been one of the toughest I can remember and the thing that has affected me the most is hearing people's stories of the sacrifices they have made and indeed the human sacrifice because of this dreadful virus. The best gift I can give anybody I love this Christmas is their health and that means that I will keep my distance - I urge you all to do the same."
If you have COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, continuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste), you should immediately self-isolate and book a test. New booking slots are available each evening for the next day and more are released each morning. Pre-booking is essential.
If you test positive, you must self-isolate for ten days – with your household isolating for 10 days from when the positive person's symptoms started - do not go to your workplace, to school or to the shops. Either work from home or report sick. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be helped by the NHS test and trace service to identify the people they've recently been in contact with so they can be alerted and also self-isolate if required.
You can book a test online, on the Test and Trace app, or by calling 119. Home testing kits can also be ordered subject to availability.