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Confirmed cases of Omicron Covid variant reported in Derbyshire

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 7:35pm

By Eddie Bisknell, Local Democracy Reporter @EddieBisk

There have been at least 13 reported cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Derbyshire, with “many more” under investigation.

The UK Health Security Agency is tracking the number of cases of the new Omicron variant within the UK, with its leader, Dr Jenny Harries, citing the strain as “probably the most significant threat since the start of the pandemic”.

Our councils and UKHSA have confirmed that 13 cases of Omicron have been reported in Derbyshire with a “handful” of confirmed cases in Derby itself.

Many more cases of the variant are already thought to be circulating in the community, say health officials, but not all people with the virus are tested and not all tests are analysed for variants.

The Omicron variant is said to spread more easily and at a higher pace. It is also said to drastically reduce the effectiveness of our vaccines, with booster jabs encouraged and being rolled out in huge numbers.

A spokesperson for UKHSA said data for local council areas is currently only being provided once a week, though national statistics are being published every day.

The last data for Derby and Derbyshire dates back to Friday, December 10.

Last week, Dr Robyn Dewis said it was “inevitable” that the city would record its first Omicron cases, and that it was expected to become the dominant strain – outcompeting Delta, the current dominant variant of the virus.

Statistics published by UKHSA on Decemeber 14 show there have been 483 Omicron cases recorded in the East Midlands, out of 5,006 across England – showing that the East Midlands makes up 9.7 per cent of the nation’s Omicron cases.

Dr Harries said on December 15, that the NHS could potentially be in “serious peril” because of the Omicron wave.

Derbyshire’s health officials are fully aware of the risk posed by the new variant and ask people to book for a vaccine and test regularly, along with the usual measures around hand hygiene, social mixing and distancing and face coverings – with a rapid rise in Omicron cases expected.

Dean Wallace, Derbyshire’s public health director, said: “We’re continuing to monitor the situation in Derbyshire in relation to the Omicron variant of Covid 19.

“It’s thought that this strain of the virus may be passed between people more easily, although this is not certain, so I’d urge everyone to remain vigilant to help protect themselves and loved ones by preventing the virus from spreading further.

“That means continuing to wear a face covering where required, working from home where possible, keeping on with regular hand-washing and keeping rooms well-ventilated – particularly if you’re mixing with other households.

“It also means testing regularly whether you have symptoms or not, and self-isolating and booking a test online at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling NHS 119 if you have any of the main symptoms, which are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

“These measures will all help to stop the spread, but the best protection against Covid-19 is to get the vaccine.
“It’s not too late if you haven’t had yours. To book an appointment visit www.nhs.uk

“We’ve come so far in our fight against this pandemic – but Covid hasn’t gone away and we still need to take precautions to protect those we love from this illness.”

A spokesperson for Derby City Council said: “The Omicron variant is highly transmissible and the recent surge in confirmed cases across the country is evidence of that.

“Here in Derby we have had a handful of confirmed Omicron cases, with many more cases under investigation, so we anticipate these cases will continue to increase rapidly as we have seen nationally.

“We’d strongly urge all those who are eligible to get their booster vaccinations as soon as possible.
“Walk-in booster vaccinations are available at Midland House on Nelson Street or you can book an appointment online.

“We’re also recommending that everyone continues to take regular lateral flow tests at home to reduce the spread of the virus.

“Lateral flow tests can be ordered online or picked up from local pharmacies.

“We would also urge everyone to continue to Do The Right Thing For Derby by wearing a face covering, following social distancing in busy places, washing hands regularly and keeping rooms well ventilated.”

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