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Nottinghamshire Public Health expert's warning as Newark and Sherwood is worst-affected district by Indian variant in county

The Indian variant has made its way into Newark and Sherwood, making it the worst-affected district within Nottinghamshire.

This was the news from director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire Jonathan Gribbin during a weekly coronavirus briefing for journalists this morning (Friday).

Mr Gribbin said while Nottinghamshire's infection rate had reduced slightly from last week (now 15.5 per 100,000), Newark and Sherwood had seen an increase — now at 28.6 per 100,000 compared to England's average of 32.

Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire. (41192570)
Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire. (41192570)

And, he warned, cases were set to continue to rise.

"Newark and Sherwood's infection rate is followed by Mansfield, with other boroughs in the teens or close to the teens," he said.

"However, we don't have to look far away in other parts of the country where rates are rising. There are parts in the East Midlands higher than we are, but as shown before — we can't insulate ourselves very long from what is happening elsewhere.

Newark Market Place. (43828703)
Newark Market Place. (43828703)

"The best evidence we have is that the Indian variant is associated more closely with hospitalisations than the previous Kent variant and there's a good indication it is associated with more severe disease.

"We need to consider what we can be doing to guard against a resurgence that would set back what we all want — disrupting schools, the local economy and the NHS."

Mr Gribbin said county residents could help stop a resurgence by having the vaccine and getting regularly tested.

"It's not too late to take up the vaccine, it has provided a lifeline to thousands of people in Nottinghamshire," he said. "We want to make sure it's not too late for you — if you have had an offer, take hold of that lifeline.

Vaccine stock image. (47785891)
Vaccine stock image. (47785891)

"Families enjoying half term, get your lateral flow tests this weekend before the return to school.

"People aged 40 to 49 — get the vaccine before covid gets you."

David Johns, interim director of Public Health for Nottingham, told journalists the picture for the city was similar to that for Newark and Sherwood.

"In the seven days up to May 29 there were 78 cases, an increase on the previous week — with an infection rate of 23 per 100,000," he said.

"Nottingham rates are expected to continue to rise into next week. It's to early to predict whether this will level off or carry on increasing, but most cases will be the Indian variant.

"There's limited but growing evidence of increased hospitalisations with the Indian variant compared the to Kent, which isn't likely to change. However, we do have the influence over what happens next — how fast it spreads and the impact on the NHS.

"Get the vaccine when you are offered one and use the free lateral flow tests available to ensure one positive covid result doesn't turn into three or four."

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