Month: January 2022

Covid Watch 173: Boosters extended as Omicron cases fall rapidly in Shropshire

Some good news at last, Omicron cases are falling rapidly across Shropshire and across most of the country. Here in Shropshire, the rate of infection has fallen by around 44% in the last seven days. Rates remain very high but the health impacts of Omicron are proving less than Delta. Eight in 100 people in Shropshire have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last seven days, down from a peak of 18 in 100 ten days ago. In Telford & Wrekin 12 people in 100 tested positive, down from 20 in 100. In Ludlow, 15 in 100 people tested positive in the week to 9 January. It’s all Omicron now. The variant, which emerged in mid-November, formed an estimated 99% of the cases in Shropshire and 96% of cases in England in the seven days to New Year’s Day. The good news is that it looks like Omicron cases are falling as quickly as they grew. That’s very different so far from Delta, which proved to be a rollercoaster ride with cases shooting up and down. That could still happen with Omicron but the high level of vaccination makes it less likely. We are however unlikely to come out of…

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Recycling bins to rolled out in May – book yours now

Shropshire councillors agreed on Thursday to spend nearly £3 million on new 240 litre wheelie bins to be distributed to households across Shropshire, beginning in South Shropshire in May. These need to be booked online or by ringing 0345 678 9007. This is an overdue move. Myself and fellow councillors have been pressing for wheelie bins for recycling for years. We wanted to prevent the frequent wind blow of plastics from open tubs onto our streets. There are other benefits from having wheelie bins. They are easier to manoeuvre. The recycling operatives will no longer have to empty tubs into wheelie bins before loading the recycling into the crusher. And they will encourage greater recycling at a time when local recycling rates are falling. If people can’t accommodate a wheelie bin or would prefer to keep the black tubs that’s fine. Shropshire Council also won’t be taking back the existing tubs, so you can use them for other storage or garden jobs. Or take them to a Household Recycling Centre.

A new location for two electric vehicle (EV) charging points each serving two vehicles on Mill Street will be discussed by Ludlow Town Council tonight (Wednesday). The charging provision is designed for residents but will also be used by visitors, especially those that come for overnight stays. Update. The town council has agreed to the proposals. The proposed new location for the EV charging bays will be outside the Blue Boar. To make space, the motorcycle parking will move downhill a short distance. Two of the charging bays will be for disabled drivers, and two for allcomers for whom the usual parking charges will apply. The EV installation will be funded by a government grant. It is essential that the EV charging points are installed before April, otherwise the grant will be lost and Ludlow will be left behind. That will disadvantage town centre residents and businesses that draw on the visitor economy.

Covid Watch 172: If you are not vaccinated or seeking another dose, this weekend is your chance

Have you been vaccinated yet? Have you had all three doses? If not, there are opportunities in Ludlow and South Shropshire over this weekend to walk into a clinic and get your first jab, second jab or your third. Sessions are 8am to 11am at Ludlow Hospital today (Saturday) and 9am to 12pm tomorrow at Ludlow Mascall Centre. People do not need to be registered with a GP, have proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number. A few personal details will be taken to record who has been vaccinated. More than one in ten people aged 12 or over in Shropshire have yet to receive any a vaccination, more than 32,000 people (11%). In Ludlow, nine per cent have not had any jabs. Covid rates are at the highest level to date. Nearly 30 cases a day were diagnosed in Ludlow in the week up to New Year’s Day at testing centres. There will have been many other people who haven’t known they are positive. Others will have had positive lateral flow tests but did not obtain a PCR test and therefore are not recorded.  

Covid Watch 171: Omicron cases surge across Shropshire – don’t panic but be cautious

In the last days of 2021, infection rates soared nationally and locally. The cause was the new Omicron variant first reported in November. Omicron seems to be milder, especially among those who have been vaccinated. Omicron was estimated to have been responsible for four in five cases across England and in Shropshire in the week to Boxing Day and for two-thirds of the cases in Telford & Wrekin. In the last few days cases have continued to surge. Infection rates are the highest we have seen during the pandemic. Fourteen in 100 people in Shropshire have tested positive in the last week. That is not a cause for panic but it is a reason for caution. There are 22 patients in the Royal Shrewsbury and Princes Royal Hospitals with Covid, a fifth of the number a year ago, reflecting the high level of vaccination and the lower health impacts of Omicron compared to earlier variants.

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