New cases of COVID-19 in Cumbria have skyrocketed as 10,367 new cases were recorded in the week ending 31 December - an increase of 5,701 or 122% compared to the week previous (4,666 new cases). The current rate is three times higher than the previous peak in January 2021.
Rates in all districts except Eden were also above the national average rate (England 1,625 cases per 100k population).
In the week ending Tuesday 4 January, the number of new patients admitted to hospital in Cumbria with COVID-19 Positive status increased by 22 from the previous week.
The average number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital beds in the County also increased by 75 compared to the previous week.
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, said: “The rate at which COVID is spreading in Cumbria and indeed the rest of the UK is truly alarming right now.
"Thankfully, it does appear this variant is milder than previous ones, but the focus now must be on protecting our NHS and care services.
"That’s why we must all remain incredibly cautious over the coming weeks and bring the case rates down. Continue to get tested regularly and self-isolate if you’re positive. Keep your distance from others wherever possible. Wash your hands regularly and wear face masks in busy public spaces.
"Also, please make sure you get your first, second or booster vaccines as soon as you possibly can. If you haven’t had your first or second vaccine yet, it’s not too late. You won’t be judged or asked why by anyone – but please book it now."
Peter Rooney, Chief Operating Officer for North Cumbria CCG, said: “As everyone will be aware there are extremely high levels of COVID-19 circulating in our communities, parts of Cumbria have the highest levels in the country. This is having a significant impact on staffing across all our health and care services.
"It is important that people know the NHS is here for you if you need help – especially those with an urgent need, such as a suspected stroke, chest pains or concerns about cancer. But we would urge people to consider using 111 online for less urgent health concerns and be understanding of the pressures on staff who are doing their very best in challenging circumstances.
"We would also urge friends and relatives of people who may be particularly vulnerable to ensure they are being well supported."
Dr Geoff Jolliffe, Clinical Chair at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Many GP practices across our region are currently facing unprecedented pressure due to significant staffing shortages.
"At this time, all our practices remain open and are contactable by the usual channels - however, we do ask that patients utilise the full range of services available in the community, such as pharmacies for minor ailments and illnesses.
"While the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on our region, we are determined to keep as many planned care services running to catch up the COVID-19 backlog, so if someone has an appointment for an assessment or diagnostic procedure, or other treatment, it’s important they attend.
"Many patients are experiencing symptoms they would normally associate with common respiratory tract infections, such as headaches, sore throat, a runny nose, and coughs – these should be regarded as possible Covid and you must have a PCR test at the earliest opportunity. Please don’t ignore it then carry on as normal.
"If you do require a GP appointment, please note that staff are working under considerable pressure and remember to be patient and be kind."
The full COVID-19 situation report can be found at www.cumbria.gov.uk/stopthespread.