Covid-19 rates in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire continue to be “cause for some concern” as the UK could face a third wave of the virus, health bosses have said.
In half of the county’s boroughs, rates have been rising with Broxtowe one of the top five biggest increases week-on-week.
In Mansfield, Ashfield and Bassetlaw figures also show an increase in the number of cases, proving “Coronavirus hasn’t gone away”.
In other parts of the county, rates have been described as “pretty much stuck” or “plateauing” as they remain similar to around a week ago.
The current national average for Covid-19 rates is 55 cases per 100,000. In the East Midlands, it is 75 and in Nottinghamshire it is 82.7.
Public Health director for the county, Jonathan Gribbin said: “Cases that we see for the most part are still made up of people of working age.
“Amongst the people of working age, the rates are pretty flat.
“We have observed some fairly sharp increases in rates amongst younger people, in particular amongst children of school age, particularly evident in one or two districts, but it is also a general pattern.
“It’s important to remember we have come a long way through a winter of extreme pressures and thanks goes to everyone in Nottinghamshire.”
He added: “But coronavirus hasn’t gone away, and even with the vaccine as effective as it is and a pace of roll-out that is proving to be fast and successful, we should still nevertheless anticipate a resurgence at some point.
“We’re making plans to deal with that but we are going to continue needing your ongoing help with that.
“The lower our rates are when a third wave finally arrives, whenever that might be, the less likely we are to finding ourselves in a situation where our local NHS find themselves once again facing the most severe pressures.”
In Nottingham city, the rate is currently at 73.9 with a quarter of cases linked to children of school age, connected with a return to school and the extra testing.
But Alison Challenger, director of Public Health in the city said it does not account for the whole picture and “Covid is still lurking”.
She added: “We know that Europe is going through its third wave and typically we have seen when Europe have higher rates then often the UK follow. But we can’t say if and when that will be, or what that will look like.
“But we do have the ever-present risk of the new variants so it’s really important to maintain restrictions and only move through as the roadmap allows us to.
“We have Easter coming up and we have more opportunity to meet outdoors with our friends and family. Easter itself might slow the case rate locally but on the other hand, it could increase and we still have to remind ourselves that we cannot mix indoors.
“It is the outdoor restrictions that will be lifted on Monday. We’re not out of the woods yet.”
Ms Challenger added: “If we do start to see crowds gathering, that does increase the risk.
“The rates are still circulating and people still having asymptomatic disease. We don’t want to jeopardise the next stage of the roadmap so we have to go at the pace that is described.”
Both public health bosses also reminded people of the local testing centres for people without symptoms to get regular checks and encouraged this to be utilised.
Along with multiple asymptomatic testing sites in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire that are already up and running, a new testing centre will open in Ilkeston next week.
From Monday, March 29 until Sunday, April 25, the EMH Group Car Park at Longfield House (DE7 4BR) will be open weekdays, 9am to 5pm.
No booking is required.