Considered – Dr Victoria Turner, Public Health Consultant, North Yorkshire County Council gave a verbal presentation on prevalence data of the pandemic and vaccination rates. The purpose of this was to inform and update the Committee on the Covid situation. The presentation covered the living with Covid 19 plan with the main points to consider being:
· Move from the government mandate to individual responsibility on key measures including isolation, testing and wearing face coverings
· Routine contact tracing and legal requirement to isolate ended 24th February
· End of (most) free COVID-19 testing for general population 1st April
· Possible COVID-19 – stay at home, avoid contact with others, wear a mask if you have to leave home
· Confirmed COVID-19 – stay at home and avoid contact with others for 5 days (3 days if under 18).
Vaccination rates confirm the vaccination uptake (aged 12+) in North Yorkshire is 89.5% for the 1st dose, 86.2% for the 2nd dose and 73.7% for the third. This compares with England as a whole at 79.7%. 75.7% and 59.6% respectively. Vaccinations can still continue to be booked through the NHS website, and a 4th booster for specific groups of people are now being administered.
Councillor Andrew Murday asked about the prospects for winter and whether this was a consideration.
Victoria Turner confirmed that modelling and predictions for the winter were currently being looked at, along with a 4th booster rollout.
Councillor Paul Haslam expressed concern that infection rates were rising by 25% week by week and asked how many people were suffering with long Covid.
Victoria Turner estimated that 1 in 20 people may have long Covid and there is an acceptance that people may get Covid 2 or 3 times.
Councillor Liz Colling asked what the plans were if the increase in cases continues as some vaccination centres had now been stood down.
Victoria Turner confirmed there were no specific plans for North Yorkshire but the centres are ready to be stood back up if required and this was implemented almost overnight previously and the expectation is that this may be the case in the autumn.
There followed a discussion the main points summarised below:
· Across North Yorkshire the data suggests 10% of the population have not been vaccinated
· Discussions are taking place with the NHS to combine flu and Covid vaccinations going forward
· A rise in hospitalisations has been recognised but the average for North Yorkshire is a reflection of elsewhere
· A rise was expected but the rate is not as high as previously which suggests the vaccine is working and protection is lasting well
· Public health information will communicate plans and awareness for the winter months.
Councillor Andrew Lee summed up, thanking Victoria Turner for attending and responding to questions from Committee members.
1) That Victoria Turner attend a future meeting of the Committee should there be an emergence of a new variant of the Covid virus that is of concern or should the Committee request further data on the pandemic