75 per cent of Staffordshire Covid cases are new variant, health boss says

Health bosses in Staffordshire have warned it is more important than ever to follow the rules and get tested regularly – as the new contagious strain tightens its grip on the county.

Around three quarters of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Staffordshire are the new variant, which is known to spread more easily and rapidly than other strains.

Dr Richard Harling, director for health and care at Staffordshire County Council, said: “It was inevitable that the new, more transmissible strain of Covid-19 would make its way to Staffordshire, so it is even more important we do everything we can to stop the spread.

“This means staying at home, washing hands, wearing a face covering if you do have to go out and about, and keeping your distance from others.

“We are also encouraging people who need to be out and about for work to get tested regularly at one of our community testing centres—it takes 45 minutes and means we can stop any spread in its tracks.”

The nationwide lockdown means people should only leave their homes for essential reasons like work if they can’t work from home, for essential journeys like shopping or for exercise in their local area.

Dr Harling continued: “Lockdown is having an effect in Staffordshire, in that we are seeing a slow levelling off and even a slight reduction in cases. Coupled with an effective roll-out of the vaccine, there are many things to look forward to.

“Our residents and businesses have been fantastic so far, and their efforts are really making a difference. However, we are at a crucial stage in this pandemic and cannot afford to be complacent, especially with this new variant. We must keep going, keep following the rules, and get tested regularly to stop the spread and reduce cases.”

People without symptoms who want to get a test can do so at one of eight semi-permanent testing centres in Staffordshire, or at one of the pop-up sites. For more information and to book a slot at a testing centre near you, visit staffordshire.gov.uk/testing.

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