‘Work from home, wear masks and get jabbed’ plea from Peterborough health director as city case rate hits highest ever level

Peterborough’s director of public health has urged people to work from home if they can, wear face masks in shops and on public transport and get vaccinated as the COVID case rate has hit the highest level the city has seen in the entire pandemic.

By Stephen Briggs
Thursday, 21st October 2021, 8:56 am
New NHS vaccination centre opens up in the Queensgate shopping centre on Monday. Monica Allen gets her booster jab. EMN-211018-111408009
New NHS vaccination centre opens up in the Queensgate shopping centre on Monday. Monica Allen gets her booster jab. EMN-211018-111408009

The record number of cases currently being seen in Peterborough is starting to put pressure on Peterborough City Hospital and other health services, as cases once again start to affect older and vulnerable residents.

The level of cases is also having an impact on families, with school attendance in the city down to below 90 per cent, and firms seeing an impact with staff being unable to come in.

Now Peterborough director of public health, Jyoti Atri has warned the city’s case rate could break the 1,000 mark unless all residents do their bit to tackle the virus.

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Jyoti Atri

Speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph, Ms Atri said; “We have the highest case rate we have seen in the entire pandemic.

“This has been predicted, with the model suggesting case rates would rise rapidly when schools went back - it is also what we saw in Scotland, where schools went back early.

“But now it is spreading into older populations, and into care homes.

“Schools in Peterborough are badly affected - we currently have an 88.6 per cent attendance across the city.

“Hospitals are in a difficult position, with COVID affecting them directly and indirectly.
“We have heard from a number of firms who are saying staff have been unable to come in as well.”

The latest case rate in Peterborough is 686.5 cases per 100,000 people, compared to the UK rate of 434.6.

The highest ever number of cases recorded in the city in a single day was recorded on October 11, with the third highest number recorded just two days later.

Ms Atri said: “We do not want the rate to go above 1,000, but it could happen. We are doing all we can to stop it.

“In the summer, some people may have had the message that it is all over, but that is not the case. Things are not OK, and we are trending towards a difficult winter.”

When asked what Peterborough residents could do to help themselves - and their fellow citizens - to stay safe, Mr Atri said: “If you haven’t had a first dose, or a second dose, or your booster dose if you are eligible, please go and get it.

“It not only helps stop you catching it, but it reduces the chance of you needing hospital treatment and death.

“I have not seen many people wearing masks recently. Now is the time to put them back on.

“Hand washing is still so important, as is getting tested.

“And working from home, if you can, is one of the best ways we can keep it under control. At the council, where we can, we are all still working from home.”

Ms Atri said that the booster jab campaign, and the campaign to get teenagers vaccinated, was going well in Peterborough, and she was pleased to see a new vaccine hub open in Queensgate this week.

But the city’s vaccine take up rate remains far below the UK rate.

In Peterborough, just 60 per cent of residents aged 12 and over have now had two jabs, compared to a UK rate of 79 per cent.

Ms Atri said: “People have said they have had the virus, and don’t need to have the vaccine. I would say to that we now have the Delta Variant, which is a whole different beast.

“People say they are worried about being able to work, or for child care if they have it, but we at the council can offer help and support.

“People have also said they are worried about getting the vaccine if they are pregnant, but it is safe for pregnant women to get it. Concerns about fertility have also been raised (by some who have not been vaccinated) but there is no mechanism by which the vaccine could impact anyone’s fertility.”

With school cases having such a big impact on case rates, the council wrote to all schools in the city, urging them to take precautions - encouraging mask use, social distancing and increasing ventilation in class rooms.

As half term approaches, Ms Atri said it was hoped that could have an impact on case rates - but warned it would not be a long lasting impact.

She said: “We are hoping that half term will dampen things down a bit, but half term is only a week. We cannot be complacent.

“Schools are in a difficult position, as they try and keep pupils and staff coming in, but they have been doing all they can. We have had emails from schools thanking us for what we have done.”

There are a number of vaccine centres open in Peterborough for people to go and get their jabs. To find where the nearest one to you is, and when the centres are open, visit https://www.thevaccinators.co.uk/

People can also book their vaccination appointment via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/ or by calling 119

For information on the help and support being offered by Peterborough City Council, visit https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus