Category: Health

Covid Watch 159: Infections in Ludlow, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin high and not falling

There is already talk of reintroduction of social mixing restrictions over the winter because Covid-19 infections rates are not falling. There could be announcement within the next few days on contingency plans should the NHS become overwhelmed with the twin pressures of flu and Covid. We are far from getting infection rates reduced. Infection rates have stopped falling in Shropshire and have been climbing in Telford & Wrekin. Across England, around 225 people per 100,000 people are testing positive each week, more than 150,000 new cases a week. In Shropshire, the infection rate is around 306, a third higher than nationally. Telford & Wrekin the rate is about 385. Here in Ludlow, the infection rate is high at 35 cases a week, an infection rate of 319 cases for 100,000 people. That is equal to the previous peak of cases in July.

World Suicide Prevention Day: A councillor view from a hill farm

It is World Suicide Prevention Day. Tracey and Richard Huffer farm high on a hill in south west Shropshire. Tracey is also a health professional. Along with myself and four others, we are Lib Dem councillors in a very rural area. Sometimes it feels we can’t sit down for a chat without mentioning the “s” word. Someone else has taken their life. And it is mostly younger people, mostly men. This article reflects how on the growing problem of suicide in rural areas. Richard was at the livestock market selling sheep recently. I was leaning against the railings at the sheep pens. An elderly farmer, a stranger, joined me and started pouring out about his son who had shot himself at the age of 30. I was probably one of the few people he had seen for a while, perhaps the only one for days. I wish I could say this was a one off. Sadly not.

Covid Watch 158: Covid infection rates stabilise in Shropshire and across England

The second peak of the third wave of infections in Shropshire looks to have stabilised and may even be falling. In the Shrewsbury area, the infection rates remain higher than those of the second wave – around 25% higher than they were during January. In Ludlow, infection rates have grown to the level they reached during the second wave and the latest data for seven days ago suggests rates are still rising. Research has shown that the now dominant Delta variant leads to higher hospital admission or emergency care attendance risk for patients compared with the alpha variant. The main spread of the virus is among young unvaccinated people and the older age group have a high degree of protection from vaccination. That means that deaths in which Covid-19 is a cause are much lower than they were in the first and second waves.

Covid Watch 157: Twin peaks in third wave as cases continue to rise in Shropshire – testing is vital to bring infections down

We saw twin peaks of during the second wave of Covid-19 infection. The first came in November after perhaps too much socialising and eating out over the summer. The second in December as infection rates soared to the highest level reported, helped by the Christmas relaxations. The vaccination drive, which went better than many could have hoped, soon brought infection rates tumbling down. But as lockdown restrictions were eased, rates shot up and the third wave was upon us. The first peak was over by the end of July but if we thought that was the end of the third wave it was an illusion. We are now in the second peak of the third wave in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. The picture across England is different with a recent levelling out of cases. Meanwhile, I urge people to recognise that we can still catch and transmit the virus even if we have been double vaccinated like me. My PCR result was through yesterday. Positive. I’m fine. Just isolated.

Talking BMX and skateboarding for Ludlow

We councillors are very conscious that the mental health and wellbeing of young people has suffered during the pandemic and its lockdowns. Some services and facilities were closed or in limited use. There was support online but it is not the same as face to face engagement. We intend to resume Ludlow Young Health drop in sessions later in the year. But, post-Olympics, we also need to look at sporting facilities for young people in Ludlow. People should not have to drive 30 miles to access decent facilities.

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