Covid has not gone away: Stark warning from Sunderland health chief after city death toll reaches 1,000
Covid has not gone away – that is the stark warning from Sunderland's health chief after the city’s death toll passed the grim milestone of 1,000.
Gerry Taylor, Director of Public Health, say the pandemic continues to claim lives daily and has issued a plea to people to stay vigilant and to keep doing all they can to stop the spread of the virus.
Sunderland has now seen registered Covid deaths pass the four-figure mark, a situation Ms Taylor has described as “heartbreaking”.
And with case numbers across the city still high and a rise in the number of hospital admissions, people are being reminded of the importance of getting vaccinated and taking up booster jabs.
Gerry said: "This heart-breaking death toll really brings home the stark reality of the situation and if anything convinces us of the need to keep doing everything we can to reduce the spread of this deadly disease then it should be this.
"Eighteen months on from the start of the pandemic we are still seeing on average one Covid related death a day in our city and many more people are becoming seriously ill and in need of hospital treatment. Every life lost is someone's loved one, someone who won't be there to celebrate Christmas with their family this year or join in the family occasions that we all value so much.
"The reality is that our case numbers are still very high, particularly among school age children but increasingly among those of working age and the over 60s, and unfortunately the number of people in our hospital is also rising.
"Deaths have been across a spectrum of ages. And it really is vital that we don't let our guard down especially now as we head into winter and the flu season.
"The most important step that everyone who is eligible should take is to get vaccinated. Get all recommended doses of the Covid vaccine and ensure you get your flu jab at the earliest opportunity. 12-15 year-olds can now book vaccines at local venues and the booster programme is offering vaccines to those most at risk from Covid 19, including anyone over 50 who had their last vaccine more than six months ago.
"If you’ve not had your first or your second vaccine, it’s not too late. All of the information is on our website. (www.sunderland.gov.uk/covidvaccine)
"Wearing a face covering when you’re in crowded and enclosed public places, keeping your distance when out and about, washing your hands regularly, meeting outdoors if you can and opening a window if you’re meeting indoors - can also make a real difference in helping reduce the spread of the virus.
"These steps are important even if you have been vaccinated because while we know vaccination is really effective at reducing serious illness from Covid, we also know you can still catch the virus and pass it on. That’s why you should still test twice a week using Lateral Flow Tests which are available for free at your local pharmacy or through the Gov.UK website.
"If your test is positive, if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, or if you have any symptoms – even mild ones - you should isolate and book a PCR test immediately. You’ll need to stay at home until you receive your PCR test results and then follow the public health guidance on what to do next. With lots of winter viruses in circulation, you should also stay at home if you feel unwell to help stop passing on any infections.
"Doing all of these simple things not only helps us protect ourselves and our loved ones but will help to save lives."