There have been more than 600 confirmed or probable Omicron Covid-19 cases in Derbyshire, new data has revealed.
The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency, up to December 15, confirms that there have been 649 confirmed or probable Omicron cases in the county and city.
Of these, 223 are confirmed cases following full analysis and 426 are probable cases, based on a sample of a test.
Derby is home to the largest share of Derbyshire’s confirmed or probable Omicron cases, with 90 confirmed, 82 probable – totalling 172 overall.
Meanwhile, the district with the largest share of cases of the new variant is Erewash with 37 confirmed cases, 54 probable cases – totalling 91 overall.
The number of Omicron cases varies greatly between regions in part due to the capability and capacity to analyse tests.
Alongside this, not all people who contract Covid are tested and not all tests are analysed for variants.
Derby’s total of 172 confirmed and probable Omicron cases is lower than its larger East Midland metropolitan counterparts – particularly those seen in Nottingham.
Leicester has clocked 228 confirmed Omicron cases, 152 probable and 380 overall, while Nottingham has recorded 644 confirmed Omicron cases, 383 probable and 1,027 overall.
The number of Omicron variant cases is increasing rapidly and has already become the dominant strain in a number of places across the country, including London, Leicester and Manchester, experts have said.
New case numbers are doubling every couple of days.
Data from the UK Health Security Agency shows that 391 of Derbyshire’s 649 confirmed or probable Omicron cases came in the last week – more than half.
This is up from 238 in the previous week, 84 in the week before, and two and one in the weeks before those.
Local health officials have not said that Omicron is the dominant variant in Derby or Derbyshire, but have said the strain is on a similar path to Delta and analysis so far shows it on track to become the nationally dominant strain.
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.
Earlier this week Derbyshire’s public health authorities said they were 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.
Our authorities had said there had been 13 confirmed or probably cases of Omicron in Derbyshire had a “handful” in Derby, with “many more” under investigation, with a “rapid” increase expected
Dean Wallace, Derbyshire’s public health director, had 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-
“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 had said: “The Omicron variant is highly transmissible and the recent surge in confirmed cases across the country is evidence of that.
“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.”
Here is the current breakdown of confirmed and probable Omicron cases by Derbyshire area – listed by confirmed, probable and total of the two figures combined.
Amber Valley – 33, 24, 57
Bolsover – 10, 18, 28
Chesterfield – 7, 42, 49
Derby – 90, 82, 172
Derbyshire Dales – 13, 34, 47
Erewash – 37, 54, 91
High Peak – 11, 68, 79
North East Derbyshire – 9, 58, 67
South Derbyshire – 13, 46, 59