New Delta variant of Covid 'moving across the county', say Nottinghamshire health chiefs
The highly infectious Delta variant of Covid which first circulated in Nottingham city and suburbs is now ‘spreading widely’ across the county, health chiefs say.
They have revealed the ‘variant of concern’ first identified in India could be responsible for 85 per cent of city cases.
The new strain is associated with a greater risk of hospitalisation and more severe disease.
At Friday’s weekly Covid briefing, journalists heard how rates across Nottingham and England were increasing – although the county figure had slightly gone down.
David Johns, Nottingham’s interim director for public health, said in the city in the seven days to May 29 there were 78 cases, an increase on the previous week – taking the rate to around 23 cases per 100,000 population.
The England average rate sat at just over 32.4 per 100,000, up 40 per cent on the previous seven days but rates in Nottingham were also ‘expected to rise going into next week’.
Mr John’s said: "It is too early to predict in Nottingham if this increase will level off or if it is the beginning of a more sustained increase. Eighty-five per cent of cases in Nottingham are now likely to be the Delta variant. The Delta variant was made a variant of concern due to its ability to pass from person to person more easily.
"The latest technical briefing from Public Heath England highlights limited but growing evidence from England and Scotland of an increase risk of hospitalisation from the Delta variant compared with the Alpha variant first discovered in Kent.
“On a more positive note, the report from Public Health England also suggests that full vaccination, the full two doses is having an impact particularly on hospitalisations.
"The Delta variant is dominant in Nottingham city, that isn’t likely to change.”
Jonathan Gribbin, Nottinghamshire’s director of public health, said countywide there had been 128 cases in the past week, equivalent to a rate across the county of 15.5 per 100,000 – slightly lower than a week ago.
There was ‘some variation’ in the county with Newark & Sherwood having the highest rate with 28.6 and Mansfield with 20 per 100,000. Other districts and boroughs were in or around the teens.
“It’s a promising picture for Nottinghamshire county. Not far away rates are rising, England overall has gone up over the last week and in East Midlands, in many parts, it’s higher than we are,” Mr Gribbin said.
“In Nottinghamshire we can’t insulate ourselves for very long from what is happening elsewhere. The best evidence we have at the moment is that the Delta variant is associated more closely with hospitalisations than the previous dominant variant.
"A pretty good indication at this stage is that it is associated with more severe disease.
“In Nottinghamshire, we are seeing the Delta variant now spreading across the county. Initially it was focused on the city and suburbs around the city, but we see it spreading more widely across the county.”
The R rate – rate of infection for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – is now estimated between 0.7-1.1.
To watch the full briefing go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuMG_flCYr4