Speaking at Nottinghamshire’s weekly Covid briefing, on February 26, the county’s director of public health Jonathan Gribbin, underlined the roadmap didn’t start until March 8 saying that although Covid figures were reducing they were not coming down quickly enough.
Mr Gribbin said: “We are delighted to hear of the roadmap, but it will be a gradual return with measures driven by data not dates, we have messages of optimism, encouraging messages but also notes of caution.
“We are not on the starting line yet. There can be no general relaxation of measures yet, we must stay on the road, stick to the rules. The dominant strain - Kent b117 is far more transmissible, to get the same level of suppression we have to work much harder.”
The Covid rates as of yesterday across all England were at 118 per 100,000, a reduction of 14% over a seven-day period. The East Midlands rate was 171 per 100,000, higher than England’s average.
The rate across Nottinghamshire county was 193 – a small reduction on last week – but not significant and there was a ‘high degree of variation’ across the region.
“We are seeing some significant decreases but also increases in some districts and potential problems for a high risk of resurgence if we don’t stick to the rules,” Mr Gribbin said.
"We must keep going with measures and ensure we have a thorough testing programme. Asymptomatic testing for people without symptoms, would probably become “a part of normal life.”
The R rate for the city and county were at .8 and 1.1 “We can’t drop our guard yet,” Mr Gribbin said.
Alison Challenger, Nottingham County Council director of public health, said the latest data showed the city had a rate of 188 per 100,000 lower than last week (231 per 100,000).
Dr Andy Haynes, executive lead for Nottinghamshire's Integrated Care System, in his last briefing before retiring reported a “strong performance” for vaccinations with 280,000 doses administered countywide.
"Over 54,000 vaccinations were delivered in the past seven days – a 12 per cent increase from the week before,” he said.
Vaccination levels in the 1-4 cohorts (priority groups) was now 94% or higher and cohort 5 was at 82%, in the top 10 nationally, the briefing heard. More was being done with ‘pop up clinics’ including those which have opened in Mansfield and Ashfield but more needed to be done to over come “vaccine hesitancy,” he added.
In a seven day period Covid cases occupying hospital beds in the county fell from 519 to 466, lower than in the second wave but 60 per cent up on the first wave. One in six beds were still occupied by Covid patients.
Mr Gribbin and Ms Challenger thanked Dr Haynes, saying he was a “valued” and “trusted voice” who would be missed.
In the same week the Queen urged the public to "think about other people" to get jabbed, Mr Gribbin, said: “we must all do what we can to protect ourselves - think wider than yourself.”