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Director of Public Health urges residents to take care despite no new changes to COVID legislation

Date Published: 11 January 2022

Rutland’s Director for Public Health is urging residents to keep following the latest national guidance around COVID-19 and remain extremely cautious following the sharp rise in confirmed cases locally, and throughout the UK.

The UK Government announced a range of measures to curb COVID transmission in the run-up to Christmas. These have been updated further and include:

  • Mandatory face coverings in shops and on public transport, unless exempt.
  • Self-isolation has been reduced from 10 to seven days, with two negative lateral flow tests required to end self-isolation: the first no earlier than day six, followed by a second test result 24 hours later. If the lateral flow test result on day 6 or day 7 is positive, you are still required self-isolate for ten days.
  • Unvaccinated contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases are still required to self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure to the virus.
  • From Friday 7 January 2022, anyone traveling to England will have to take a PCR test, but they will no longer have to self-isolate while awaiting the result. 
  • From Sunday 9 January, anyone entering the UK will only have to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test.
  • Those who are contacted by NHS Test and Trace for suspected Omicron cases will need to self-isolate for ten days, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • COVID-19 vaccination boosters are available to everyone over the age of 18

“We now know more about the Omicron variant than we did when it first emerged but there is still significant cause for concern. Scientific data shows us that Omicron is much more transmissible than other strains of COVID, which means many more people are being infected. We’ve seen this reflected in Rutland, where the number of confirmed cases of COVID is now above 1,000 per 100,000 people. A high number of COVID infections could result in lots of essential workers having to self-isolate, which could then affect the delivery of critical services in Rutland. “It’s vital that everyone follows the safety measures and guidance that remain in place to protect us from COVID. I know many people feel overwhelmed by the appearance of a new strain but it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest information. Keep checking the national NHS and Government websites for clear guidance, and bear in mind that changes to these measures can come at a short notice. Following the Government's latest announcement, it appears no further precautions will be legally enforced but please do keep across all the latest information and stay safe.”Mike Sandys, Director of Public Health at Rutland County Council

From 11 January, people in England who receive a positive lateral flow device test result for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a follow-up PCR test. This is a temporary measure in response to the high number of COVID-19 cases following the outbreak of Omicron. Self-testing is extremely important to stop spreading the virus. Residents can get a rapid lateral flow test if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 by ordering a lateral flow device online at: www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests and take a test at home before meeting friends, family or going to work. 

Mike Sandys added: 

“We are constantly monitoring the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rutland. The Omicron variant spreads more easily than other strains, even among people who have been vaccinated with two doses. This means that if you are infected with Omicron, you are very likely to pass on the virus, regardless of your vaccination status. The high number of confirmed cases can affect the delivery of critical services in our county, as essential workers are forced to in self-isolate after testing positive. Last week, the number of patients in University Hospitals Leicester because of COVID rose above 250 – a figure that exceeds the peak we saw during the first wave in 2020. The good news is that a booster jab is highly effective against severe Omicron so please book your appointment or go to a walk-in centre to get your booster jab. Remember that all over 18s are eligible for a booster three months after second doses.”

The UK’s vaccination programme has been expanded to offer a booster to all over 18 in response to Omicron’s higher transmission rate. Vaccines against COVID-19 have proven to be successful in reducing the number of deaths and hospital admissions. However, a third dose is needed to curb transmission of the Omicron variant because it is more contagious than previous strains. Visit www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/my-health/coronavirus-advice/coronavirus-vaccine to book a vaccination appointment or find your nearest walk-in centre.

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