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Advice for parents and guardians as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

01 October 2021

A person using a lateral flow testing kit in their home

With COVID-19 cases rising in the 10-19 age group, advice is being offered to help parents and guardians play their part in effective contact tracing.

A further 4,363 COVID-19 cases were reported in Northamptonshire in the week up to 26 September 2021.

This week’s report, in common with the last, shows 10 to 19-year olds have the most cases, followed by the 40 to 49 age group.

Although figures in the 10-19 age group are high this is not completely unexpected as these have been mainly identified through the re-introduction of regular LFD testing in secondary school aged pupils. In addition, the majority of this age group are currently unvaccinated.

However, the roll out of the vaccine to children aged 12-15 has begun in the county this week and public health officials are urging young people to get the vaccination when offered to help reduce the growing number of infections locally.

The single dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be given in school and parents of those now eligible are being asked to please respond promptly to consent requests when contacted.

Parents are also being asked to play their part in helping contact tracing efforts when contacted by Test and Trace teams to provide details about the activities and contacts of their COVID-19 positive under 18s, so that patterns of exposure and spread can be identified.

The education of our young people is of vital importance as being out of education causes significant harm not only to educational attainment, but also life chances, mental and physical health. This is why we are supporting our Northamptonshire schools to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils during the pandemic.

Northamptonshire schools, like all across England, have been following new Department for Education Schools COVID-19 operational guidance since the start of the new school year. This included the testing of secondary age pupils on return to school, which has identified a number of cases.

Schools are supported with infection protection control measures, particularly when we see an increasing number of cases within the school community. However, we are also available for schools to seek advice on infection prevention and control mitigation measures even if they have not experienced any cases to date.

Parents of COVID-19 positive under 18s can play an important part in keeping the school community safe, as well as their wider communities, by fully engaging with the contact tracing information asked for by Test and Trace. Unlike adults who can opt to provide information online, younger peoples information is only collected over the telephone and you might well not know what to expect.

For our local contact tracers, the biggest problems are around activity data and locations. Parents and guardians will be asked for activity data for the last two weeks; including school attendance, out of school clubs, overnight stays, as well as visits to leisure/retail/hospitality venues and friends’ houses. They will need to provide as much contact data as possible; especially when it comes to overnight stays, sleepovers, and out of school clubs; so we can map the spread of the disease.

Contact details of potential close contacts will also be asked for; if numbers or addresses are not available, then at the very least names should be given as Test and Trace cannot get this information from schools.

Finally household contact details will also be needed. This is part of standard contact tracing procedure for all infectious diseases, this allows us to identify and take preventative action to contain any spread.

It is perfectly okay to ask the tracers to call back later if you are still gathering some information together. But please do engage and provide this vital information which could enable us to stem further spread.
Lucy Wightman - Joint Director of Public Health, North and West Northamptonshire Councils

This week's report

  • There was a 40% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the period 20 to 26 September 2021
  • Northamptonshire’s infection rate per 100,000 population is 550.5, significantly higher than the national average of 326.2
  • The area with the highest case rate in the county (and amongst the highest in England) is Kettering (964.9), followed by Corby (691.0). All local area infection rates are significantly higher than national averages
  • Over the last 4-week period the number of cases amongst people aged 60+ has increased slightly and numbers remain high. Overall, more women than men tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 28 days
  • A total of 75 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital beds in Northamptonshire on 28 September - a 3% increase on the previous week. Sadly, in the most recent week, Northamptonshire also saw an increase in the number of deaths
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