Rutland has recorded an increase in confirmed COVID cases for the period from 18 to 24 June, with 40 people testing positive for the virus in that week. Over 90% of these cases are the Delta variant. This total equates to 102.7 cases per 100,000 people, a figure slightly higher than the current UK national average.
A majority of infections are in younger age groups – 27 (60%) amongst 10 to 19 year-olds and 6 (15%) in 20 to 29 year-olds. In the county’s remaining seven cases, two people over the age of 60 have tested positive.
Director of Public Health for Rutland Mike Sandys said that while local residents should not be alarmed by these numbers, everyone should continue to be vigilant:
“Case rates per 100,000 have increased across all regions and continue to rise, particularly among younger age groups. The surge in new infections everywhere is being driven mostly by the Delta variant, which is far more transmissible that the original strain of the virus, as it spreads through the country. As we have started to mix more, the number of infections is rising sharply in towns and cities across the UK.
“Thankfully, the number of Rutland residents becoming seriously ill from COVID is now much lower. This comes as the Government ramps up its drive to vaccinate as many people as possible ahead of the expected last step out of lockdown in England on 19 July. It’s reassuring that 86% of adults in Rutland have now had the first dose of the vaccine, 65% the second dose. While many of us are already enjoying some relaxation of restrictions and being able to socialise more and go to events as summer begins, we all need to help in controlling these infections.”
More broadly, the Delta variant is contributing to rates of coronavirus infection among children in schools and younger people, including older teenagers, as well as 20 to 29 year-olds who are far less likely to have been vaccinated yet. In Rutland, a COVID outbreak reported by a school in the past week has impacted upon the increased numbers of 10 to 19 year-olds testing positive for the virus locally. Rutland County Council is working closely with Public Health England and the school to manage the outbreak.
Out in the wider community, Rutland residents should continue all they are doing to keep infection rates under control by always following the COVID-safe guidance. With around one in three people who have COVID-19 suffering no symptoms, the Council is also echoing Government advice and encouraging regular, quick testing to stop the mutation of further variants via virus transmission.
Mr Sandys continued: “Every time the virus passes from person to person, it has another opportunity to mutate into new variants such as Delta – which we know spreads more easily. We urge all residents to take rapid ‘lateral flow device’ tests two times a week if they don’t have symptoms, even if they’ve had one or both COVID vaccinations, and these can used by adults and children aged 11 and over. Children who go to primary school or younger children don’t need to be tested.
“To help us slow down the spread of infection again, rapid testing runs alongside getting both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, when invited; continuing to follow the rules around hands, face, space and fresh air; self-isolating and getting a PCR test if you or those around you have symptoms.”