Peterborough has Covid-19 Enhanced Response Area status extended for a further three weeks

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been granted an extension of its Enhanced Area Status, put in place due to a rising number of Covid cases, by three weeks.

The city was put under the measures at the start of last month (November 1), which have allowed the council to apply for additional support to accelerate the vaccine and booster rollout and boost the communications push encouraging the use of face coverings, testing kits and various other ways in which people can help to reduce the spread of the virus.

Following a successful application from Jyoti Atri, the area’s joint Director of Public Health, supported by local politicians, the status will now remain until Christmas Eve (December 24).

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This will allow both areas to continue increased intervention in schools until the end of term - including identification of close and household contacts and enabling daily rapid LFD testing, including in primary school settings at parent/guardian discretion. This is still seen as a vital measure in the area where 42% of all infections are currently in 0-17 age group.

Jyoti said: “We are pleased this extension will allow us to continue measures that have only just got going and need longer to support schools where there are significant issues with Covid until the Christmas break, and to continue to drive up vaccine uptake.”

The extra resource has included having a national surge rapid response vaccination team on the ground locally, making direct contact with households in areas of low vaccination up take – which continues to December 20 - in addition to extra communications advising residents on protective measures to prevent infection spread.

The past five weeks of ERA status has seen a measurable rapid increase in uptake of vaccination for 12 – 15 year olds.

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“Pre- ERA we were considerably below both the England and East of England average for the numbers of 12 – 15 year olds who were vaccinated.

Peterborough rates have increased but are still below both East of England and England averages – so we really want to continue and finish what we have started.”

“Our local partners in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire have been working tirelessly to increase testing and vaccination uptake amongst 12 to 15 year olds. At national level, we will continue to reinforce the local response to this pandemic, delivering additional support to these areas until December 24,” added Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UK Heath Security Agency.

Cllr Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health said: “It is highly encouraging that we have seen an increase in school age vaccination during the period of the Enhanced Response Area - but we still need more of our population of all ages to be vaccinated both against COVID and Flu as this is the best protection there is– so I am glad we have been given more time and support to do this.”

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Dr Harries added: “Unvaccinated people are more likely to need intensive hospital treatment, and if those infected pass on the virus to essential workers that means fewer hospital staff, GPs, or social care staff at work caring for vulnerable adults and children in our City.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated yet,or are hesitant – every vaccination site has someone on hand to talk to you about your concerns. And if your worry is a practical one about getting to the site – we can even put you in touch with free transport.”

“Remember that everybody, everywhere, should take simple steps to protect themselves from infection. Please wear face coverings in line with government guidance, let in fresh air when mixing indoors and wash your hands regularly. Vaccination is more critical than ever so please come forward for your latest jab without delay - whether that’s your first, second, third or booster jab.” Dr Harries added.

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