Cambridgeshire retains its Enhanced Area Status as uptake in Covid jabs rises
Cambridgeshire has been granted an extension of its Enhanced Area Status for three weeks to build on encouraging progress.
An application by Jyoti Atri, the area’s director of public health – supported by lead politicians – for Enhanced Response Area status was extended from today (Monday) to December 24 following Government agreement.
This will allow the area to continue increased intervention in schools until the end of term - including identification of close and household contacts and enabling daily rapid lateral flow testing, including in primary schools at parent/guardian discretion. This remains a vital measure in the area where 42 per cent of all infections are currently in 0-17 age group.
Ms Atri said: “We are pleased this extension will allow us to continue measures that have only just got going and need longer. This will support schools where there are significant issues with Covid until the Christmas break, and continue to drive up vaccine uptake."
The extra resource has included having a national surge rapid response vaccination team on the ground locally, making direct contact with households in areas of low vaccination up take – which continues to December 20. In addition, the area has benefited from extra national communications advising residents on protective measures to prevent infection spread.
The past five weeks of ERA status has seen a measurable rapid increase in uptake of vaccination for 12 – 15year olds in most areas.
Ms Atri said:“Pre- ERA we were considerably below both the England and East of England average for the numbers of 12 – 15 year-olds who were vaccinated. Now all areas in Cambridgeshire are above the England average and most are also above the East of England average too."
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of UK Heath Security Agency said:“Our local partners in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been working tirelessly to increase testing and vaccination uptake amongst 12 to 15 year olds. At national level, we will continue to reinforce the local response to this pandemic, delivering additional support to these areas until December 24."
And Councillor Richard Howitt, chair of Cambridgeshire's adult and health committee, added: "“This decision means extra protection for local people will continue in the run-up to Christmas and is a clear vindication that the measures brought in locally are working.
“We took early and decisive action in Cambridgeshire, in recognition of specific concerns in terms of local cases and it is really important that we do not let down our guard now. These measures continue to be needed to help manage the tremendous pressure on our hospitals and essential services that a peak of infection rates early in the New Year is likely to bring.
“I would urge everyone to take steps to prevent infection spreading when they are making plans to meet family and friends over the coming weeks, and when they are out and about in crowded areas. Taking a rapid lateral flow test before you set out is no hardship but could prevent serious illness in someone you love.”
Everyone is reminded to wear a face covering in crowded areas – which is now mandatory unless you are exempt.
Dr Harries added: " Vaccination is more critical than ever so please come forward for your latest jab without delay - whether that's your first, second, third or booster jab.”