Yesterday I spoke with Jan Thomas, the Accountable Officer at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust, who is leading the NHS’ response to Coronavirus in our region. The NHS has done a fantastic job in the East of England, and we should all be grateful to all of the staff for their incredibly work this year.
According to the latest figures - a rolling 7-day average - positive cases of coronavirus in East Cambridgeshire are at 2.3 per 100,000. The figure for South Cambridgeshire is 9.5 per 100,000. These numbers are well below the figure for the East of England as a whole - 13.5 positive cases per 100,000 - which is lower still than the national figure.
Because of the lower level of positive results in our area, the NHS is currently able to carry on performing its routine functions without significant interruption. By rigorously separating patients into different wards, elective procedures continue to be offered. Even though their workload is higher than ever before, all GP surgeries in our area continue to accept face-to-face appointments. The only restriction is that these appointments must be booked in advance. The NHS is installing extra telephone equipment at each local surgery to ensure that you will be able to get through when you call.
Testing has a vital role to play in preventing the spread of the virus. Jan and I spoke about the steps that are being taken to increase the speed at which coronavirus tests can be processed by labs, and steps are underway to enhance capacity. As you may know, increasing capacity is one of the Government’s highest priorities, and urgent measures are underway to ensure that over 500,000 tests per day can be conducted by the end of October.
As testing capacity is limited, Jan reiterated to me the importance of making sure that everyone is familiar with the formal guidance. To confirm, you should only book a test if you show symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; and/or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). You should not schedule a test merely as a precaution, because you wish to make sure you do not have the virus before travelling, or simply because you have come into contact with someone who has symptoms.
More information is available on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
I will continue to do everything I can to help support you and your family through this very difficult period. We all have a role to play in helping to counter this virus. For that reason I would also ask you to follow the new restrictions announced by the government yesterday. Due to the increased spread of the virus, the Government has found it necessary to advise all those who can work from home to do so, and introduce a number of other restrictions.