Younger people now the group catching Covid-19 in Staffordshire

Younger people are the main group now contracting coronavirus in Staffordshire, a health boss has said.

The news comes after 16 people with links to the Crown & Anchor in Stone have tested positive for Covid-19 after the pub was "overwhelmed" with punters when lockdown restrictions were eased.

More than 600 people have now been tested in Stone and the 16 cases have been tracked to people across Staffordshire

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The accountable officer for Staffordshire CCGs, Marcus Warnes, told a Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs governing body meeting that the coronavirus cases emerging recently are among a different demographic than at the peak of the pandemic.

He said: "In Staffordshire we've had an outbreak in Burton a few weeks ago and more recently in Stone.

"We are very much seeing as people come out more, as lockdown restrictions are eased, we are seeing hotspots of cases.

"It does feel very different in terms of these cases, it's a different demographic, it's much more younger people, most of whom don't require hospitalisation whereas early on we were seeing big surges of cases in hospital as well as in care homes which are mainly older people, many of whom did require hospitalisation.

"The good news is hospitals have coped, the NHS hasn't been overwhelmed and as we speak all of our main providers have plenty of capacity.

"We have actually coped really well in the NHS over the first four or five months of the pandemic, but we are by no means out of the woods yet, and we will continue see localised outbreaks which, with local authority partners we will continue to manage as we have done with the cases in Burton and Stone.

"In Stone about 300 people were tested in the first two hours of the local testing centre being put in place. So testing is absolutely key to getting on top of the local outbreaks and ensuring that people follow the guidance to self-isolate for the requisite time if they do become infected.

"Our response to care homes has been a particular success, how we have worked to wrap support around care homes, both in terms of testing, stamping down on outbreaks and training staff in terms of infection prevention and control. So we're in a much better place in care homes than we were five or six months ago before the pandemic started."

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