More than 100 new cases of Indian variant recorded in Sunderland in one week
The Indian or delta variant of coronavirus is spreading most quickly between family members, the city’s head of public health has said.
Gerry Taylor was speaking as the latest figures show more than 100 suspected cases of the latest strain of the virus have been detected in the city.
Public Health England figures show 145 cases of the Delta variant in Sunderland by June 9, 138 more than the seven cases recorded the week before.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the Covid-19 mutation that originated in India now makes up 91% of new cases in the UK, with evidence suggesting it may be more dangerous than the Alpha – formerly known as the Kent – variation.
Sunderland had seen a ‘big increase’ in cases in the last ten to 14 days, said Gerry Taylor.
But she emphasised the situation in the city was no worse than that across the rest of the region: “We are seeing more cases of the delta variant,” she said.
"This is in line with the other North East areas which have also seen an increase in the last couple of weeks.”
Transmission is mainly occurring among households rather than among colleagues, despite the rise in the number of people returning to the workplace in recent weeks and the relaxing of rules around pubs, bars and restaurants.
"With the Delta variant, we're seeing if one person in a family is positive than the rest of the family tends to get it too. We're seeing transmission within families and between families,” she said.
"We are not seeing outbreaks connected to workplaces or individual locations. It's spreading across communities across the city."
Health bosses are pleased with demand for vaccinations across the city and the response as the rollout was extended to young people : "The uptake for vaccine remains good,” said Ms Taylor.
"We've started with invitations now with younger people and the uptake is good."
The North East continues to have one of the lowest Delta variant infection rates in the country, with a minimum 1,254 cases recorded in the last week, compared to 16,825 in the North West.
Public Health England said on Friday, June 11, that 42,323 cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed in the UK, up from 29,892 a week ago.