First situations of Omicron Covid reported in North East Lincolnshire
The first situations of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus have been reported in North East Lincolnshire.
Public health chief, Geoff Barnes said there are six to nine situations of the new Omicron being tested.
He told Grimsby Live early microbiological examination of samples showed evidence of the new strain and he was informed this afternoon.
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That came just a few hours after the first death of a patient in England with Omicron was confirmed by Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Mr Barnes said: “Omicron is going to be an enormous challenge. We are having our first situations in North East Lincolnshire reported. It was unavoidable.
“This is from early microbiological examination and it has however to be confirmed. But the evidence is it is the new strain Omicron.
Open Door Covid-19 Vaccination Centre on Albion Street, Grimsby (Image: GrimsbyLive/Donna Clifford)
“It just shows how enormously challenging this new variant is going to be and we can expect high situations over the Christmas period. There are between six and nine situations and they are very likely Omicron.”
He warned the highly infectious variant will spread most easily in crowded, indoor spaces.
Mr Barnes said: “When I heard about the situations here this afternoon, I was not surprised. There were over 1,000 situations confirmed last week and that will double every two days so there will be 8,000 situations by this time next week.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the new strain now accounts for 20 per cent of coronavirus situations.
“Omicron is going to be very principal by Christmas,” said Mr Barnes.
He said it was infecting more people and quicker than the first Alpha strain of coronavirus and the latter Delta variant which was responsible for the majority of situations this year.
The public health chief said the case rate in North East Lincolnshire remained high and there have been a number of outbreaks in schools which his department has had to manage, along with school leaders.
“That is putting a strain on our sets, though the number of hospitalisations is fewer than last week and that is accounted for thank to the booster vaccination campaign. It is our main strategy,” said Mr Barnes.
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, (Image: AP)
He said no decision had however been made on the closure of bars and restaurants unless the spread of Omicron translates into hospital situations.
Currently, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust is treating 39 patients with coronavirus – 16 at Grimsby (with one in ICU) and 23 at Scunthorpe (with two in ICU).
Mr Barnes said: “If hospital beds start filling up as they did this time last year there would have to be a review. But at the moment the jury is out and the Government is committed to keeping them open,” he told.
To combat the spread of coronavirus, Mr Barnes said it is vital that everyone gets a booster jab.
“It will raise your response. I cannot underestimate the enormous task this is going to take to get additional vaccinations done within the next associate of weeks. It is a enormous challenge. It will take additional staff and volunteers and additional venues to start to provide vaccination,” said Mr Barnes.
More GP practices and pharmacies will be urged to start delivering vaccine as they have the training and staff.
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