It’s been a number of months since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and we are all enjoying some normality after a challenging two years which impacted all corners of life.
As we now look forward to life without restrictions and head into the social summer holiday period, we must keep in mind that the virus has not gone away.
In fact, in recent weeks we have seen a rise in cases in the West Midlands with a shift in the dominant strain from the Omicron BA.2 variant. The latest data indicates that Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 now account for more than half of rising COVID-19 cases in the UK and are driving the recent increase in infections.
We are fortunate that so far the rise in cases has not led to a significant increase in hospital admissions or deaths and this is down to the efficacy of the vaccine and the incredible efforts of people across the country getting vaccinated.
We’ve learned so much in the last two years but as we move to living with COVID-19 on a long-term basis, every one of us needs to remain vigilant, take precautions, and ensure that we’re up to date with our COVID-19 vaccinations. We need to continue to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and vaccination is the best form of defence we have. It’s never too late to get vaccinated.
Remember we can all play our part - stay at home if you have any respiratory symptoms or a fever and limit contact with others until you are feeling better, particularly if they are likely to be at greater risk if they contract COVID-19.
Face coverings and hand washing still remain important in reducing transmission, consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces and washing your hands thoroughly and often, especially before and after getting on public transport or getting in from work, shops or the pub.
Meeting others outside is much safer than indoors as the fresh air helps to blow the COVID-19 particles away. So, make the most of the warm weather over the summer and meet family and friends outside. Or if you meet indoors, let the fresh air in by opening doors and windows.
Let’s enjoy the summer and our regained freedoms but keep in mind that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, and we all need to do our bit to live safely.
A spokesperson from Warwickshire County Council said:
"The best estimates we now have for COVID-19 incidence come from the ONS survey. Please see Figure 3 in the link below. The case data based on testing is now very biased and may well appear higher in Warwickshire due to higher testing rates, for those who still have access to tests. As you can see from Figure 3 on the ONS website, Warwickshire boroughs and districts are not out of keeping with much of the rest of the country now in terms of positivity rates, which are relatively low at an estimated 2.5 percent of the population.
"Our key message remains to stay at home and avoid contact with others if you are unwell, wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, ensure good ventilation if you are going to meet others outdoors, and make sure you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Find government guidance on the gov.uk website."