Covid fines hit 500 in Staffordshire as obesity fears also raised

At least 500 people have been fined for flouting Covid rules across Staffordshire since the pandemic began, health bosses have said.

It comes as it was revealed that obesity rates have also increased in the county as residents faced more sedentary lives during the national lockdown periods.

Facilities such as gyms and leisure centres were forced to close for several months, while outdoor exercise and sport sessions were restricted by limits on the number of people who could meet up.

There have been almost 75,000 recorded cases of Covid in Staffordshire since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile Staffordshire Police issued 500 fixed penalty notices to residents, while three businesses have been issued with directions by Staffordshire County Council to curtail or limit activities because of threat to public health, a meeting heard.

The impact of the pandemic on the county has been detailed by Dr Richard Harling, director of health and care at Staffordshire County Council, in his annual report which is due to be published this autumn.

He presented the initial findings to members of the Staffordshire Health and Wellbeing Board.

He said: “So far in Staffordshire we have had just under 75,000 cases and that’s a cumulative case rate – the case rate since the start of the pandemic – of about 8,500 cases per 100,000 population.

“There is an issue with counting – the first wave was probably vastly under-remunerated and that is because at the time the country did not have well-developed diagnostic laboratory facilities.

"Probably something like one in 10 or 20 cases was actually confirmed. During the second wave last winter and the third wave at the moment laboratory capacity is much greater and we are counting a much higher proportion of cases.

"But there will still be a considerable number that are undiagnosed as people are relatively asymptomatic. The cases we know about are probably only the tip of the iceberg of all the cases that are out there.

Figures presented in the meeting revealed that of July 23 there had been 2,356 deaths within 28 days of a Covid-19 diagnosis. Covid-19 was recorded on the death certificate of 2,723 people and there were 1,908 excess deaths compared to the average for the previous five years.

Dr Harling added: “It is really important to remember that as well as the direct impact of Covid – the infections, hospitalisations and deaths – the pandemic has also had a wider impact. That is due to the impact of the virus but also control measures. Prolonged isolation we now know is very bad for people. We’ve had a rise in mental health problems during the pandemic period and that is especially marked in children and young people.

“We’re pretty confident there has been a rise in obesity because people have been sedentary during long periods of lockdown.

“We know children have had delays to education which they are going to have to catch up at some point. We know the NHS routine business has been very severely impacted so we are now facing some quite considerable waiting lists for routine hospital treatments and there are also some concerns about GP access.

“Care homes have also been severely affected. Residents’ quality of life has been affected by infection prevention control measures and isolations and care homes have faced increased costs and had existing staff shortages exacerbated.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News