The new variant of Covid-19 “changed everything” says Thurrock health boss

THE new variant of Covid-19 “changed everything” Thurrock’s Public Health boss insisted as the borough continues to battle rising cases.

The rate of infection in Thurrock now stands at 1,148 cases per 100,000, compared to a rate of 502 across England, according to figures from January 4 to January 10.

There were 252 coronavirus-related deaths registered to 1 Jan and 2,002 cases in the latest week of 4 January to 10 January.

In a Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting last night, Ian Wake, director of Public Health for Thurrock Unitary Authority and Thurrock CCG said: “The new variant of Covid-19 changed everything, it caught everyone by surprise.”

He admitted he is unsure what bosses in the area could have done differently to stop the spread, but concerns were raised that schools should have been closed sooner.

Mr Wake said: “This new variant is much less forgiving. We could see the new variant was far more transmissible amongst young people.”

Cllr Ralph, who represents Stanford East and Corringham Town said that he did ask for more action to be taken sooner with the schools.

He said: “I did ask for more action to be taken on the schools sooner – I wish we could have shut a week earlier to reduce infections.”

However, Mr Wake added that councils do not have that power to close schools and instructions for this must come from central government.

The new variant of Covid-19 was detected by the government in November 2020 and has been rapidly spreading across England.

Councillor Victoria Holloway, asked Mr Wake to elaborate on his concerns on care homes.

Mr Wake stated there would always be a risk of worry for care homes as the setting was easy for Covid-19 to spread, easy to contract and the level of health of those in care homes.

That arrangements were working well with care home hubs now being set up with daily calls being made to care home managers, PPE was well supplied, with additional health arrangements in place and good care planning.

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