Plan B ends as 371 North Yorkshire Covid patients lie in hospital - 11 in intensive care

·4-min read
Liz Kemp, of Kemps General Store in Malton, expects people will continue wearing masks in busy places as Plan B restrictions lift.
Liz Kemp, of Kemps General Store in Malton, expects people will continue wearing masks in busy places as Plan B restrictions lift.

Covid rates in North Yorkshire remain 'very high' with 11 people in intensive care.

Figures showing the county's Covid rate is 999.1 per 100,000 population have been revealed as North Yorkshire’s director of public health urges people to be considerate as Plan B restrictions end.

In hospitals serving North Yorkshire’s residents, 371 beds are occupied with Covid patients, 11 in intensive care.

Hundreds of education settings are affected by staff and pupil absences due to the virus and more than 396 residents and staff in county care settings have tested positive.

Louise Wallace, director of public health, thanked residents for the huge effort they have made to follow the rules over the last two years and those who have come forward for vaccination.

“Now we can enjoy those greater freedoms and learn to live with Covid; but it is worth bearing in mind that rates are still very high and some people are still very poorly with the virus so let’s just take some care in how we go on in our daily lives.

“Good ventilation and letting fresh air into indoor spaces is still useful in reducing how much virus is in the air and face masks protect the wearer as well as others, so people might still choose to wear them in very crowded spaces."

Uptake of the vaccination in North Yorkshire has been one of the highest nationally, at 80 per cent of the eligible population.

People not yet jabbed are being reminded that it is never too late.

Amanda Bloor, chief accountable officer for the North Yorkshire clinical commissioning group, said there were lots of opportunities across York and North Yorkshire to access the Covid vaccine, for first jabs or boosters, at walk-in clinics. Bookable appointments are available through the NHS national booking service.

"You can search online or call 119. I would encourage everyone to come forward; it's not too late to get a first dose.

"As we gradually move away from Covid restrictions and learn to live with coronavirus, getting the vaccine remains our best defence against serious illness caused by this virus."

She said while face coverings would no longer be mandatory in many settings, masks and social distancing remained in place in healthcare settings such as doctors' surgeries and hospitals.

"These measures will help protect staff and patients, particularly those who are clinically vulnerable and at greater risk from Covid, and who may still be anxious about attending appointments."

Liz Kemp, owner of Kemps General Store in Malton and Whitby, said the country needed adapt to a new norm but she expected that people would carry on wearing masks in busy places.

She said: “Yorkshire rates are not dropping in the same way as elsewhere in the UK so I think it is still important to be cautious.

"Our staff will make a choice on face masks – it has been so hard not being able to see people smile and if you wear glasses, working with a face mask eight hours a day has been so very difficult! But we all need to carry on being careful for the time being.”

North Yorkshire County Council has redeployed people from its wider workforce who have stepped forward during the current Omicron spike to volunteer for social care roles because of reduced staffing levels.

Justine Brooksbank, council assistant chief executive, said: "It’s just another example of people in all walks of life across the county who have gone the extra mile to help others during challenging times.”

Francesca Floris, employed in the council recruitment team, is one of the volunteers and begins her induction next week at Silver Birches elderly people’s home in Filey to provide domestic support.

“I have always had an interest in care-related work,” she said. “My mum has volunteered and this sparked my enthusiasm. However when I have considered this previously, I thought that perhaps I wasn’t qualified or experienced enough or that, due to study and other commitments, I might not be able to offer the hours needed.

“When I realised that you didn’t need experience and hours were flexible, together with the value set of being able to empathise with people, problem solve and get things done, it really resonated with me.

“I am looking forward to making a difference in my local community.”

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