People are being urged to help protect essential workers and frontline staff by getting jabbed and taking precautions to minimise the spread of Covid.
Transmission of the Omicron variant is already having a huge impact on many of Cornwall’s vital services and infrastructure.
Cornwall’s Director of Public Health, Rachel Wigglesworth, has a clear message to both residents and visitors.
She said: “Covid doesn’t just affect you and your health – it can also cause huge disruption to everyone’s lives. You never know who you might spread it to. The more the virus is allowed to circulate, the more likely it is that teachers will be unable to teach, bus drivers will be unable to drive, nurses will be unable to work… the list goes on.
“The only way to ensure life carries on as smoothly as possible is for everyone to take responsibility, follow the government guidance, and get jabbed and boosted. It’s never too late to get your first or second dose – no one will judge you and you’ll be doing your part to protect both yourself and those around you.”
Cllr Dr Andy Virr, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Public Health and an Emergency Department consultant at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, added: “I have seen first-hand the impact Covid has had on the NHS and would urge everyone to do what they can to help protect all of our essential workers. Without them all the services we rely on could grind to a halt causing huge disruption to people’s lives.
“So make sure you get your jabs and booster as the vaccine does help prevent the spread of Covid as well as providing protection. We’d also ask everyone to act responsibly to keep the spread to a minimum by taking a Lateral Flow Test before socialising, wearing face coverings when required, maintaining good hand hygiene, and keeping your distance from other people wherever possible.”
Iain Davidson, chief pharmacist at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It’s really important people take up the offer of being vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones and our NHS and care system.
“The impact of covid is being felt across our health and care services and our ability to provide services. We vaccinated an incredible 88% of our eligible population with their booster dose before the end of the year, but it’s not too late for people to get their 1st, 2nd or booster jabs from one of the many sessions across Cornwall. Visit kernowccg.nhs.uk, nhs.uk for booked appointments, or the NHS grab a jab web-site for details of walk-in sessions.”
The key messages in the fight against Covid are:
- Get jabbed and boosted. The vaccine is the best way to ensure as many people as possible avoid serious illness if they catch Covid. It also helps prevent the spread of the virus. You can still get your first or second dose as well as your booster – it’s never too late! Book your jab on the NHS website or find out where the walk-in centres are on the NHS Kernow website.
- Test, test and test again. Make sure you test with Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) before socialising or going to busy places. Order them on the Gov.uk website or get a Pharmacy Collect Code to pick them up from your local pharmacy. If you have Covid or winter illness symptoms then book a PCR test.
- Self-isolate when required. If you have a positive PCR test then you will need to self-isolate for 10 days. However, you can cut this to 5 full days if you have no temperature or other Covid symptoms and record negative LFT results on days 5 and 6. If you have no symptoms and record a positive LFT result, you now don’t need to book a confirmatory PCR test. Just start your isolation immediately. Everyone is asked to report the results of their LFT tests on the government website.
- Wear a mask when required. You must wear a face covering in indoor public places such as shops and supermarkets and on public transport.
- Maintain good hand hygiene. Keep washing your hands and using sanitiser to kill Covid and help stop it spreading.
- Ensure good ventilation. Fresh air keeps the virus from lingering so open windows when indoors and try to meet people outside if possible.
- Social distancing. Try to keep your distance from other people where at all possible to limit the chance of Covid spreading from person to person.