Covid testing centre opening in Pocklington
A new community Covid-19 testing centre is opening in Pocklington next week for emergency services staff and others by invitation.
The news was revealed by East Riding Council’s public health lead Andy Kingdom.
Mr Kingdom also said around 40% of new local coronavirus infections are from the latest British strain and urged people to isolate for longer.
He said because the new strain is more transmissible it had the potential to “supercharge” local outbreaks. He added the proportion of new infections from the strain in the county was higher than Hull’s at 10 to 15% but lower than York’s which is at 70%.
Mr Kingdom also said his main worry currently was that some testing positive for coronavirus were only isolating for two or three days rather than the full 10.
Mr Kingdom said: “Our most recent information shows the new British strain is here, it got to us eventually.
“Inevitably it will become the dominant strain, it’s competing with the earlier one to infect more people and it’s easier to transmit. The good news is the British strain doesn’t seem to result in worse outcomes for people, the South African one was more concerning and we don’t have enough information on the Brazilian yet.
“Vaccinations should still work against them, the question will be how effective they are.
“In the worst case we can change some of the vaccines and do jabs again, more likely they will be maybe 60 or 70% effective whereas they’re between 80 and 90% effective at the moment.”
Mr Kingdom also said a mass vaccination site like those announced for Wakefield and York would not work in the East Riding.
He said: “If we had one mass centre it would mean elderly people having to drive over the Wolds or from somewhere like Withernsea on icy roads in winter conditions.
“A mass site isn’t suitable, it’s better to use GP practices and pharmacies and to have a few larger centres like the one at Beverley Racecourse.
“Overall people seem to be embracing the vaccinations really well.
Mr Kingdom said that while infection numbers remained lower in Hull and the East Riding than other areas, they could easily rise and see both back among the worst affected.
He said: “The next two weeks will be crucial, it’s like going down a dangerous ridge on a mountain, one wrong step and we could be blown off course, we need to take these steps together.
“If we can hold numbers down now and get them falling, then we’re more likely to be the first out of the toughest restrictions when the lockdown is reviewed in February.”