East Riding health chief ‘perfect storm’ warning over coronavirus and cost of living

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Andy Kingdom, director of public health for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council public health director Andy Kingdom said the number of cases showed a new wave of coronavirus was accelerating, with around one in 50 people now locally infected.

He also told advisers that the cost of living crisis could make it harder to reach the most vulnerable, leaving them at risk if more health and care staff were absent from work over the winter.

It comes as 278 cases of coronavirus were recorded in the East Riding in the seven days to Saturday September 24, up 45.5% from the previous week.

There were 278 cases of coronavirus recorded in the East Riding in the seven days to Saturday September 24, up 45.5% from the previous week.

The infection rate fell from 55.7 to 81 over the same period.

It also comes as the council launched a Long Covid service at leisure centres, with teachers, carers and other key staff prioritized to get them back to work.

Mr Kingdom said the low number of cases in the East Riding compared to other areas meant there was more time to give more people the fall vaccine booster currently being rolled out .

But he added that the new wave could come at the same time as flu cases increase with the onset of winter.

The director said: “The wave we’ve been waiting for is here, it’s small at the moment but it’s here. We’re not seeing a lot of people in hospital yet, they’re in their 30s right now and the deaths haven’t increased yet either, which shows the vaccine is working, but there’s a lag in the numbers.

Mr Kingdom said the symptoms of coronavirus had changed slightly, with diarrhea and high temperatures appearing in more cases of people catching it.

He added that anyone with a high temperature should stay home.

Mr Kingdom also said he hoped the worst-case scenario of rising coronavirus cases coinciding with seasonal flu could be averted.

He said those eligible for the fall recall should get it without delay. He added that everyone should consider wearing a mask and social distancing during the winter.

He added: “There are now different versions of the vaccine which are all very good.

“There’s one that’s a mix of the original strain and the Omicron that was using, but even people who had the original vaccine will be protected against serious disease.

“It’s not a new virus anymore, 99% of people have had it or been vaccinated, our body knows how to deal with it.

“People should also consider doing the basic things we’ve been doing for two years, like keeping a mask in their pockets when in crowded spaces.”

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