Local doctors are seeing a lot of patients, especially young people, with respiratory and cold-like symptoms who go on to test positive for COVID-19.
Geoff Barnes, Acting Director of Public Health in North East Lincolnshire, urged people showing COVID and other related symptoms to arrange a PCR test and self-isolate to avoid spreading the illness, which can still prove deadly to some people.
“Local health services, including GP practices, are already extremely busy which is not usual this early in the autumn and winter,” said Mr Barnes. “If people have COVID symptoms such as a cough, high temperature or a change to their sense of taste or smell they should stay at home and arrange a COVID test as soon as possible. We also recommend people get a PCR test for other respiratory symptoms such as a sore throat or what feels like a heavy cold.”
If you have symptoms that you think might be COVID-19 you should arrange a PCR test which is sent to a laboratory to be checked. LFT tests are for routine testing at home when you do not have any symptoms and are not feeling poorly.
To arrange a PCR test please visit the NHS website or ring 119.
While North East Lincolnshire currently has amongst the lowest infection rates in the region and is below the national average, significantly more people tested positive here than last week.
“Social distancing and hand washing remain very important in the fight not just against COVID-19 but other respiratory illnesses that are likely to make a lot of people ill this coming winter.,” said Mr Barnes. “Please continue to take great care when you are out and about, and consider wearing a face covering in crowded places, and opening windows if you are socialising indoors.
“If you are still putting off your COVID vaccinations, please get them done as soon as possible as the vaccination really is making a big difference in reducing the numbers of people falling seriously ill from the virus and needing to go into hospital. If you have been invited for your booster, please arrange for this to be done as soon as possible to maintain the best protection.”
Dr Peter Melton, Immingham GP and Clinical Chief Officer at NHS North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
“The COVID vaccine is proving very successful at stopping serious illness and hospital admission, but we are seeing high and increasing community rates. This is causing things to be increasingly busy in general practice and community services. Alongside the increase in community COVID rates, we are also seeing the increasing spread of other winter viral bugs.
“If you are suffering with viral symptoms, we would ask that unless you are seriously ill, please organise a PCR test and manage your symptoms at home to reduce the risk of further spread in the community and increasing the demand in primary and community care when they are trying to address the backlog of checks and serious problems that have built up over the pandemic”
Details of walk-in vaccination clinics for people aged 16 and over in North East Lincolnshire are published on www.northeastlincolnshireccg.nhs.uk/covid19/vaccineclinics.