a hand holds a number of cloth face coverings. They are in a variety of colours and patterns, against a plain grey background

Hull’s public health lead: the pandemic hasn’t ended

With coronavirus rates rising in Hull and the rest of the country, people in Hull have been urged to continue to take precautions. The rate in Hull is expected to rise to 506 per 100,000 people in the next couple of days – up from 294 just over a week ago. With fewer people testing and a new ‘Deltacron’ variant identified in the UK and other countries, Julia Weldon, Director of Public Health at Hull City Council, said the risk has not gone away.

“Understandably with national restrictions and protections either removed or due to disappear, many people are no longer taking the steps we were all obliged to just a few weeks ago. Of course, with the legal requirement to isolate if you test positive removed, not everyone is able to do so. The end of free testing on March 31 will also mean it isn’t accessible for everyone.

“These changes can make it feel like there’s little we can or should now do to protect ourselves and others. However, cases are increasing, the pandemic really is not over, and those who were vulnerable before restrictions ended are no less vulnerable now.

“The vaccine is still the single most important thing we can all do. It is never too late to ask for that first dose, or the second or the booster. Getting vaccinated gives you significant protection against becoming seriously ill.

“We know there are many reasons some people haven’t yet had the vaccine. We’ll soon be implementing our Covid Vaccine Champions programme, which will support people to get the jab. Our pop-up events last summer showed the value of giving people the chance to be vaccinated within their own communities, without an appointment and with a team on-hand to answer questions and work round barriers.

“Those of us who can, should still take the small steps we’ve all become so accustomed to over the past two years. Wearing a mask in enclosed spaces including shops; staying at home and away from others if we test positive or have symptoms; using LFTs before meeting others, particularly people who are vulnerable. Those who can work from home should still do so if they test positive, or have symptoms but are not too unwell.

“The vaccine is doing exactly what it was designed to do and widely-reported research has shown Omicron is less likely to make you seriously ill than previous variants. But people can still be seriously ill, people can still die in the most serious cases and people can still develop long covid.

“Things have improved so much and this summer promises a return to a way of life we haven’t fully seen for more than two years. But ‘living with Covid’ means exactly that – learning how to live our lives as fully as we did before March 2020, but with small, simple steps in place to keep all of us safe”.

Testing remains free until March 31. If you have a cough, temperature, or food smells or tastes different, book a PCR here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

An additional spring booster is being offered to some people, including anyone aged 75 or over, people in care homes and those aged over 12, who have a weakened immune system. Health services will be making contact soon with those who are eligible. 

Get no symptom tests from council collection points, full information here: https://www.hull.gov.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-community-advice-and-support/lateral-flow-testing or collect from local pharmacies using a collect code, which you can get here: https://test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/collect-lateral-flow-kits.

You may be able to order tests for home delivery, although high demand means this service has not always been available recently: https://test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/order-lateral-flow-kits/country.

Find a walk-in vaccination site near you here: www.vaccinatehullandeastriding.co.uk or speak to your GP.