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North Yorkshire Residents Reassured About Coronavirus

North Yorkshire Residents Reassured About Coronavirus

Published by Karen Liu with contributions by Local Democracy Reporter Stuart Minting at 6:01am 12th March 2020.

Residents in North Yorkshire are being reassured about coronavirus.

It comes from the County Council's Director of Public Health, Doctor Lincoln Sargeant, who said:

"We have no evidence yet of widespread community transmission.

Most cases that we're now picking up are linked to travel or contact.

So from that point of view, the community risk, the risk of people contracting the virus at this point, by doing their ordinary things in their communities still remains relatively low.

There are plans in place and we have been exercising those plans.

We've been looking at the different contingencies that we need to respond to, and this is across all agencies.

For the County Council for example, it'll be key functions around our social care services.

For the Borough Councils, there will be key functions around waste management."

Doctor Lincoln Sargeant has been speaking to Yorkshire Coast Radio's Karen Liu:

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised over the capacity of the NHS to deal with Coronavirus in North Yorkshire, where there is almost double the proportion of residents aged over 65 than the UK’s average.

A meeting of a County Council committee heard members highlight how staffing issues would be exacerbated if Covid-19 patients needed to be treated at their homes.

While across the UK 18 per cent of people are aged over 65, by 2025 nearly a third of North Yorkshire’s population will be aged 65 and over.

There has been a 27 per cent increase of older people living in North Yorkshire since 2005 – amounting to an increase of 30,000 older people – whilst the overall population has grown by only 19,500, or three per cent in the same period.

Leading members of the authority have previously said how the county’s health services have been under strain for decades as the NHS funding formula is weighted towards urban deprivation rather than the proportion of elderly residents, despite elderly people placing by far the greatest strain on NHS resources.

But the meeting heard a senior NHS boss state the lack of staff in the area was due to an inability to attract workers rather than a lack of government funding, but not specific NHS service had a huge staffing deficit.

Helen Cammish, of Humber NHS Trust, said talks were being held about keeping winter pressures beds open.

She added:

“We haven’t got full staff, but that’s the national picture. We have safe staffing levels to deliver the services we have, but we are very conscious in ourselves that our own staff will potentially become ill through this.

We are as prepared as we can be and will do what we can with the staffing we have been set. Our focus at the moment is very much on getting community swabbing teams in place and dealing with the pockets of Coronavirus as that happens.”


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