Still ground to make up in Oxfordshire’s battle with COVID-19

People in Oxfordshire are being advised that more needs to be done to drive down new cases of COVID-19 in Oxfordshire with a decline in figures still only taking the county back down to levels experienced in December.

The number of cases in the county in the week-ending 5 February was 134.5 per 100,000 compared to a figure of 191 per 100,000 on 29 January. However, on 11 December the number of cases was 124.6.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We’ve done a good job in getting case numbers down in Oxfordshire but the figures here and elsewhere rose to such heights in late December and early January that we still have ground to make up. Now is the time to really make an impact.

“Over the last twelve months we have seen that if you give COVID-19 an inch it will gladly take a mile. We face uncertainty around the spread of different variants and what that means for our recovery from the pandemic. We also know the new UK variant is now the dominant form in UK, and if we were to relax now the case rate will not only go up but it will go up very fast to a very high level due to its increased transmissibility.

“The government and NHS are now asking people aged over 70 to get in touch to book a vaccination if they have not received a letter. This is great news! However, we should not let any of that take our eye off the ball in terms of the simple rules to follow in our daily lives to drive new cases down further.

“The lower we can get the figures, the better position we will be in to respond to any issues that may arise down the line. We must continue to be vigilant and keep our distance from people, wash our hands, wear a face-covering and abide by all of the lockdown restrictions on not mixing households.

“If ever there was any doubt, we know, now almost 12 months on from the first cases in Oxfordshire, that COVID-19 is a formidable adversary. It is only by taking individual responsibility for our actions that we can get ourselves into good shape as winter changes to spring. We also need to give the vaccines the very best platform to do their bit.

“I would also urge anybody who shows any symptoms to get themselves tested and if they are positive to self-isolate. There’s a lot of capacity on offer for testing and a great deal of very good advice on self-isolation. In all of these areas, we are much more advanced than we were looking back to March and April of 2020.”

To stop the spread, residents are being asked to follow the rules and get tested when they have symptoms of the virus, however mild. For those who test positive for COVID-19, help is available. Information, support and advice on self-isolation has been published on the county council’s website or residents can download the information as part of a self-isolation support pack.

People are also being asked to get vaccinated when eligible. Anyone over 70 can now arrange a vaccination through the national booking service by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Further information on this is available on the NHS website.