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Director of Public Health warns against complacency ahead of end to free COVID testing

Date Published: 28 March 2022
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Rutland’s Director of Public Health Mike Sandys is urging people not to be complacent as England nears the end of free universal COVID testing on Friday 1 April.

In February, the Government unveiled plans to start living with COVID-19, signalling the gradual withdrawal of all remaining coronavirus restrictions. From Friday 1 April, free symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID testing will only be available to certain people. This follows on from earlier changes to COVID restrictions, including an end to the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test result (effective from 24 February).

Despite the easing of the restrictions, Rutland County Council is urging residents to remain cautious and keep following important safety measures to reduce transmission of the virus – particularly with the very high rate of COVID cases seen in recent weeks.

Mike Sandys, Director of Public Health for Rutland County Council, said: 

“We are observing the lifting of all remaining COVID-19 restrictions with extreme caution. These last two years have been hugely difficult for families everywhere and our NHS. We want Rutland residents to remain safe, which is why we’re encouraging people to continue with safety measures that can help us to reduce the spread of the virus. There are elderly and vulnerable residents in Rutland who need to be protected and small everyday actions can help us do this. 

“You are no longer required by law to wear a face covering indoors spaces, but it’s still advisable to do so, especially with COVID cases increasing rapidly over the last two weeks. We also recommend that people continue to follow the basic guidance around letting fresh air into indoor spaces and washing your hands regularly. If you do get sick and think it might be COVID, try to consider others and keep away from people – just as you would if you had a nasty cold or the flu. It requires very little effort but has been shown throughout the pandemic to have a big effect in reducing infection rates.”

Rutland County recorded 347 cases of COVID-19 in the week of 15 – 21 March. This equates to 857 cases per 100,000 population, compared to an England area average of 898.  

Mike Sandys added: 

“It’s down to us to stay safe now. We’ve learned a lot from these past two years, and we all know how to protect our friends and family. I hope that people will remain sensible, make the right choices and continue to think of others. I also can’t stress enough just how important and effective the COVID vaccine has been in combatting the virus, so please get vaccinated and take every opportunity to get a booster jab when it’s offered to you.”

For those who haven’t received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, information about local vaccination clinics can be found on the Leicester City CCG website.

The COVID-19 vaccine has successfully reduced transmission of COVID-19 and hospitalization. As we move on to Spring, a spring booster of the COVID-19 vaccine is being made available to people aged 75 and over, people who live in a care home for, or people aged 12 and over who have a weakened immune system.

How to stay safe from COVID-19

Latest COVID vaccination clinics

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