Vaccine versus virus race is being won but testing set to stay

Council News
11:06, Thursday, 1st July 2021

Widespread testing for Covid-19 remains as important as ever with public health bosses saying it may need to stay in place until March next year.

It comes as the rate of infection across North Lincolnshire is slowly begins to rise, while the vaccine roll-out continues at pace.

The seven-day rate of infection across North Lincolnshire has risen to 63.3 per 100,000 people up to June 24. This is below the England average of 136.4 and the Yorkshire and Humber average of 169.

Steve Pintus, joint director of public health for North and North East Lincolnshire, said: “We can see the rate of infection is increasing. This is not unexpected as we begin to see society open up more.

“The rise does not appear to be corresponding with an increase in hospital admissions nor, thankfully and most importantly, mortality. These early signs are very positive and demonstrate the effectiveness of the vaccine.

“However, we remain vigilant. This positive position does not mean we should be lackadaisical about taking the preventative measures, nor testing or isolating if we contract the virus.”

The vaccine drive has been, so far, hugely successful. Alone across last weekend almost 2,500 people were vaccinated at walk-in sites across the area – including the Baths Hall in Scunthorpe which is open 8am to 8pm every day without the need for appointments,

Encouragingly, more than half of all 18 to 25-year-olds have now had their first jab.

Despite the continuing success of the vaccine roll-out, both locally and nationally, Steve urged continuing caution and reiterated the need for testing to continue.

He said: “We will have to get used to Covid-19 being around for quite some time and while we benefit from the success of the vaccine, transmission will continue. People will have to continue with assessing their own risk going about their lives and how it relates to the guidance including the role of test and trace.

“If things continue as they are, particular the pace of the vaccine roll out, then step 4 of the national roadmap will be reached on July 19 as is hoped.

“However, testing will be with us for some time to come. As we move through the summer into the autumn and winter months it will remain critically important so we have the data and the intelligence to understand what is happening and what the threat level may indeed be.

“By regularly testing you’ll be able to keep you and those around you safe – 1 in 3 people do not show symptoms so testing yourself regularly will help stop the virus spreading.

“It will certainly not be forever, but we anticipate the testing requirements will remain in place through until spring 2022.”