‘We must not let it slip now’ - Health boss urges county to resist ‘appealing’ bank holiday

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Archant

Norfolk’s head of public health has urged people in the county to persist with lockdown through the “appealing” bank holiday week - as she reiterated fears for our elderly population.

With forecasters expecting another hot spell over the long weekend, Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council’s head of public health, is anxious that people will be tempted to ignore lockdown restrictions in an attempt to enjoy the weather.

And although she says she feels the county has passed its peak for hospital admission, she has warned Norfolk’s most eldest and frail are yet to see their Covid-19 peak.

She said: “We are very definitely seeing the number of hospital admissions coming down I am still very concerned about our frail and elderly people in particular. We are particularly concerned about people in care homes.

“We are doing an increasing number of tests every day and have a number of community teams going into care homes and doing lots but we are looking to increase that amount in the coming weeks.

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“We are close to having 1,000 tests done [in care homes] but over the next two weeks we want to see that go up massively.”

MORE: Norfolk’s hospital death toll passes 300 following eight more deathsDr Smith said that fewer than 20pc of the county’s care homes had suffered outbreaks, but that vulnerable people were still the top concern for Norfolk’s public health services.

She added that she does not feel the county is ready for lockdown measures to be eased - based on the government’s five point criteria for doing so,

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She said: “It will be up to the government to decide but while we are making good progress I do not think we clearly tick off all five points.

“I think we are seeing evidence that the infection rate is slowing and we are doing more testing but not on the scale we would like to be.”

And with the bank holiday looming, Dr Smith was keen to reiterate calls from previous weekends for people not to give in to the temptation to make more than essential journeys.

She added: “The bank holiday will be very appealing with the weather nice but while we are past the peak we are not at the level we were when lockdown started, so we must not let it slip now.”

MORE: UEA student on frontline in NHS Nightingale Hospital

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