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Residents urged to get vaccinated as infection rates rise

Article date - 02 July 2021

Residents across St Helens borough are being urged to get their Covid-19 vaccinations as soon as possible as local infection rates continue to rise sharply.
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Latest figures for the borough show that positive cases in the St Helens area for the seven days up to the 26th of June are at 410 . This compares to 43 cases during the last week of May.

Overall, case numbers in the last four weeks have increased by almost 10 times, with a rise from an average of six cases a day at the end of May to 59 cases a day in late June.

New cases are currently at their highest in St Helens town centre, Windle and Billinge and Seneley Green areas.

Younger people in the borough aged 18 and over are being particularly encouraged to get their first vaccination as one of the highest transmission rates in the borough currently is amongst people aged between 18-29. Up to the 26 June the number of positive cases identified in the age group was 111.

Residents who have already had their first vaccination are also being asked to step forward and get their second jab at the earliest opportunity. Everyone can now access their second vaccine within eight weeks of their first.

While having the first vaccination substantially increases protection against the virus, having the second vaccination can potentially more than double the level of protection. It can also reduce the risk of serious illness from Covid by between 60 per cent and 88 per cent.

The spread of the Delta variant across St Helens and the North West has contributed to positive case numbers increasing considerably in recent weeks. The new strain of the Covid-19 virus is 60 per cent more transmissible than the previous Alpha Kent variant and is now accounts for more than 90 per cent of new Covid-19 cases in the UK.

Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: “Infection rates in the borough are continuing to rise at an alarming rate so it is crucially important that all eligible adults in the St Helens area do step forward to get vaccinated. This will help protect themselves and others and will hopefully limit the further spread of the virus.

“We would especially urge younger people aged 18 to 29 to take the opportunity to get vaccinated as infection rates locally are currently rising in this age group particularly quickly.

“Obviously we all want to hopefully achieve a return to some sort of normality as the summer progresses but to do this it is vital that we all act now and take action.”

Adults aged 18 upwards can now arrange their first vaccination by either booking online at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, calling 119, or vising one of the many drop-in sessions that have been organised across the borough detailed below.

Ruth Du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: “Vaccinations are without doubt our best way to overcome the current situation. The vast majority of those currently ending up in hospital locally with Covid are unvaccinated patients. Anyone over the age of 18 years can now be vaccinated, and anyone who has had a first dose can now bring forward their second dose to eight weeks

Infection rates in St Helens are currently at their highest rate since February this year so it is so important that you take that opportunity to get vaccinated if you have it. We have a number of vaccination centres now operating across the borough and some local pharmacies are also offering a vaccination service so please do come forward."

For further details on vaccination centres in the borough and drop in sessions and opening times visit: https://www.sthelensccg.nhs.uk/news-and-events/drop-in-vaccination-sessions-in-st-helens-in-push-to-boost-uptake-ahead-of-19-july/

People are also being urged to test themselves regularly and isolate immediately for 10 days if they have a positive test.

Currently across St Helens Borough, two thirds of secondary schools, half of all primary schools and seven early years settings are affected by positive COVID cases, with over 1,300 children in the borough having to self-isolate. This is similar across the North West region, with some areas including Liverpool, much higher.

Ruth de Plessis added: “One of the biggest challenges currently is the number of people who may be carrying the virus unknowingly and then spreading it to family and friends.

“It is important that you continue to get yourself tested twice a week, even if you have been vaccinated, to help prevent the spread of the virus. If you test positive, make sure you do isolate for a minimum of 10 days.”

You can order a pack of lateral flow tests at https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

Or pick one up at a number of local testing sites in the borough: https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-testing/symptom-free-testing/