Rising Peterborough Covid rates from young people mixing in the city centre
Young people in Peterborough are spreading coronavirus in the city centre, according to the new public health chief.
Jyoti Atri said she was concerned by a near doubling of Covid rates over the past week, coupled with low vaccination take-up.
Speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph, the new director of public health for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire said: “The infection rates are not too bad but are going up, which is a concern to me.
“They’re lower than the England average at 67.7 per 100,000, compared to 160, but the rate of increase is about 87.7 per cent in a week.
“So there’s a risk it could continue to go up, coupled with the fact that vaccination rates are a bit lower than the national average, the two factors together are a cause for concern.”
She added: “There’s transmission associated with younger populations, so 16 to 30-year-olds, and focused around the hospitality/nighttime economy. The city centre is perhaps a focal point for where transmission might be happening.
“That’s where the highest rates are.
“I would strongly urge people aged 15 to 30 to get tested, and ask their parents and grandparents to urge them to go and get tested, because the more cases we can pick up the more we can support people to isolate and the further we can prevent transmission.
“I’d also urge them to get their vaccines. You can find out more information by ringing 119 for both testing and vaccinations, and going online.
“Whilst rates are low in the over 60s, the further transmission happens it’s only a matter of time before it gets into the older population.
“Because we have low second dose uptake - that’s at 44.7 per cent - we really want to push those second doses. They are highly protective against deaths and hospitalisations, even from the Delta variant.”
Asked to explain why the take-up of Covid vaccines is below the national average, the new public health chief replied: “The Peterborough population is a little bit younger than the England average or the Cambridgeshire population, so that might explain some of it.
“But it probably doesn’t explain the entire picture. We are investigating the other reasons now with colleagues.”
Groups congregating to watch England play in the Euros is not believed to be causing the rise in transmissions, but people thinking of heading out to watch Saturday night’s quarter-final against Ukraine were warned: “Everyone needs to be really cautious. If you’re going to meet other people do it outdoors. If it’s going to be indoors making sure there’s good ventilation, you’re wearing your mask and washing your hands.
“The protective measures we’ve been pushing through this pandemic matter more than ever because we have rising rates and low vaccination coverage.”