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New Year’s message from Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon

Posted on:

A very Happy New Year to you all, with hopes for a brighter and safer year ahead of us.

The number of cases of coronavirus in Devon is currently lower than the England average, with the highly infectious Omicron variant now dominant in all areas.

Devon has lagged behind the national trend by a few weeks with coronavirus, which allows us more time to get booster jabs and be better protected. Cases of Omicron have so far been relatively mild, compared to earlier variants, and our uptake of the vaccinations is high, which is all good news.

However cases here in Devon are rising in all age groups and with the return to schools this week, we expect to see rates increase considerably in the coming weeks.  At the same time, there are huge pressures within health and social care, including hospitals and ambulance services.  Hospital admissions are rising, and we expect the pressure on those critical services to get worse over coming weeks.

My New Year’s message is simple.  We are not out of the woods with coronavirus, and we have an immediate hill to climb over the next few weeks to get us over this current Omicron surge.  We know what to do.  Please follow the guidance, and do everything we can to minimise risk to ourselves and others.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon

The latest guidance

  • Take up the vaccine as soon as you’re eligible – it’s not too late to have 1st, 2nd, or booster vaccinations
  • Test regularly with lateral flow tests, if you have no symptoms, and take a PCR test if you have symptoms
  • Self-isolate if you have symptoms, and if you test positive
  • Wear face coverings when indoors in crowded spaces, including on public transport
  • Keep indoor spaces ventilated
  • Wash your hands properly and regularly