Residents encouraged to keep testing and isolating as COVID cases rise

People in Oxfordshire are being reminded of the importance of socially responsible behaviours – testing, isolating and taking extra care – to keep themselves and their families safe from COVID-19 as cases in the county have risen by 27 per cent in the last week.

In the seven days up to 24 September, there has been a total of 2,259 confirmed new COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire. This is an increase from 1,773 new cases in the previous week and is equivalent to a weekly rate of 324.2 per 100,000 residents. Oxford city has seen the biggest increase in cases, with a 51 per cent increase.

The biggest increase in cases is being seen among children aged 11 - 17, with specific isolated clusters of positive cases. There has also been an increase in cases among 40- to 49-year-olds. Cases in those aged 60 and above remain stable, with currently no increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions. The increase in cases mirrors the regional (south-east) and national picture.

People should stay at home if they are feeling unwell and get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “As we head into the winter months, it’s important we all do our bit to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, as well as other unpleasant seasonal bugs like the flu and norovirus.

“Although the increase in COVID cases has not translated into hospitalisations, which indicates that the vaccination programme is having a positive impact, local hospitals are continuing to report incredibly high demand in emergency departments. So, we must continue all our hard work to help stop the spread and avoid our health and social care services becoming overwhelmed.

“Crucially, people should stay away from work and school if they are feeling at all unwell, or if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. Regular lateral flow testing remains key, particularly as whole households no longer have to self-isolate if someone contracts the virus. Contacts of anyone who has tested positive should get a PCR test as soon as possible as well as anyone who develops symptoms. And we should all continue to take basic steps, including washing your hands regularly, wearing face coverings if you need to visit crowded or busier areas, ventilating rooms and being outdoors when meeting others if you can.

“Vaccination continues to be our main defence against the virus and the programme is now being extended to those aged 12 to 15, alongside booster jabs for vulnerable people. If you have not already had your COVID jab, it’s not too late to do so. On top of this, the seasonal flu vaccination programme has just started, with all young people up to Year 11 and all those over 50 now eligible for a free jab. So do come forward when you’re invited.”

Getting tested in Oxfordshire

There continues to be a range of options to access twice-weekly lateral flow tests. These include: ordering a home test kit online or collecting home test kits from pharmacies. With one in three people with COVID-19 not having any symptoms, twice-weekly testing will remain crucial to help us find these cases and prevent the spread of infection. This applies even if people have been vaccinated. All the symptom-free testing information is available on the county council’s website.

If anyone has symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible. There are several PCR facilities available:

  • Oxford Parkway (OX2 8HA) – drive through facility
  • Oxford Brookes University (OX3 0BP)
  • Osney Lane, Oxford (OX1 1NY)
  • Woodford Way car park, Witney (OX28 6JS)
  • Castle Quay shopping centre, 36 Bridge Street, Banbury (OX16 5UN) – opened on 23 September.
If testing at home, people need to register their results online or by calling 119. Anyone who tests positive will need to self-isolate immediately and book a confirmatory PCR test. A self-isolation information pack is available for advice and sources of support alongside answers to a number of frequently asked questions.

Getting vaccinated in Oxfordshire

Booking a vaccine if you are 18 and over can be done simply via the NHS website.

And anyone aged 16 or over can get a jab at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford – no appointment is necessary. You can find out more on Oxfordshire CCG’s website.

A third COVID-19 booster jab is also now being offered in Oxfordshire to priority groups such as to care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 - 49 years with underlying health conditions that puts them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, adult carers and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. Residents will be invited by their GP or through the national booking service to book their booster appointment when it is their turn.

Case rates in Oxfordshire

The countywide rate for the week ending 24 September was 324.2 per 100,000

By district the rates are:

  • Cherwell 327.3 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • Oxford 431.4 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • South Oxfordshire 255.9 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • Vale of White Horse 327.0 cases per 100,000 of the population
  • West Oxfordshire 258.6 cases per 100,000 of the population

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