Category: Covid-19

Covid Watch 171: GPs boosting jab delivery in south west Shropshire to meet New Year target

On Sunday, Boris Johnson announced that all adults who have not yet had a booster jab will be offered a jab before the New Year. Here in Ludlow, GPs have been working flat out to ramp up the booster programme, which was already well underway. There will be additional booster clinics in Ludlow run by Portcullis and Station Drive surgeries on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday offering around 3,800 booster jabs. Patients who are eligible are being contacted by text and by phone. As always, please don’t ring your surgery to chase up your appointment. That would put additional pressure on our hard pressed receptionists who need to deal with the day-to-day needs of the practice’s patients. With GPs confident that a third dose can be offered to all adults in south west Shropshire before the New Year, there is no need to travel long distances to queue for a third jab, unless of course you need it urgently.

Spare a thought for our GPs, pharmacists and health professionals. They will be falling asleep as they tuck into their Christmas turkeys and nut roasts as they work flat out to meet the unprecedented vaccination drive announced by Boris Johnson last night. Unprecedented that is, since the last unprecedented vaccination drive earlier in the year. Unprecedented the since recent weekends and evenings when our health teams have been working flat out at vaccination clinics. Now GPs are being asked to do even more. Our GPs in Ludlow are urging people not to panic or to flood their surgeries with calls asking when boosters will be available. South west Shropshire is now ahead of many areas in vaccination rates and you will be called in turn. I have been speaking to local GPs this morning. They are confident that they can meet the new target in Ludlow and south west Shropshire but warn that health professionals are overdue for a break.

Covid Watch 169: Omicron arrives in Shropshire amid no let-up in infection rates

Its here. Omicron is in Shropshire and in Telford & Wrekin, with nearly 2,000 identified across the UK. There is a lot to be learnt about Omicron. We know it is spreading fast. Faster than the dominant variant Delta. We don’t yet know its health impacts or the risks of those with one, two or three doses of vaccine getting Covid-19, though initial indications are that three doses are needed to achieve 70% to 75% protection against symptomatic infection. We don’t yet know the health impacts of Omicron, the extent it will increase hospitalisation or lead to long term health consequences and deaths. There has been a small dip in Covid-19 cases in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin in recent days. However, the rollercoaster continues with infection rates going down only to go up again days later. As before, the infection rate is higher among younger people. Cases have risen steeply in the Clun and Bucknell area, which stretches to the west edge of Craven Arms. More than ten cases a day were reported in the week to 5 December, an infection rate of 1,239 per 100,000 people. Rates have been high in the Bishop’s Castle area as well. The…

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Covid Watch 168: Omicron, face masks, new testing advice and peaking cases

Our country has been battered by Storm Arwen. Could it also be about to be battered by Variant Omicron? The new Covid variant has twice as many mutations as Delta, which is currently the dominant variant worldwide. That’s why many scientists and politicians are so concerned about it, even if we have little scientific evidence at this early stage about its transmissibility, the extent to which it can infect vaccinated people, whether it causes serious illness and whether it can compete with Delta. Face masks will be compulsory in shops and on buses and trains from Monday. New arrivals to the UK must take PCR tests not lateral flow. Infection rates have been increasing across Shropshire. The infection rate in the unitary area recently peaked in the seven days to 19 November at an all-time high of 571 identified cases per 100,000 people. A few days later, the infection rate reached 617 in Telford & Wrekin, though that is not quite as high as the rate a month earlier of 637. In the last few days, the infection rate has been falling across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, England and the UK. It is too early to say whether this is…

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Covid Watch 167: Infection rates are going up and down in Telford and Shropshire

Just a quick update this week. The infection rate has been falling in Telford, though provisional data show a small increase in recent days. In Shropshire, the infection rate looks to be increasing, though again the data on this is provisional. Across England, the recent fall in infection rates has halted. Locally in Ludlow, infection rates have flattened out and may be rising. There are currently 45 patients with Covid in the county’s three main hospitals.

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