Farnham responds to rising Covid threat

By Daniel Gee   |   Head of Content   |
Friday 17th December 2021 12:00 pm
@danielgeeherald
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An army of volunteers, such as retired GP John Rose, have given countless hours to the town’s vaccine drive over the past year

 

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WAVERLEY now has the 20th highest infection rate of all boroughs in the country - with 948 new Covid cases recorded over the past seven days, giving the borough a seven-day rate of 749.1 cases per 100,000 people.

This is down from a seven-day infection rate of 852.6 cases per 100,000 recorded on Monday last week, which made Waverley the fourth worst-affected borough in the UK.

But despite the slight drop, the rate is still significantly higher than that seen during last winter’s Covid outbreak - at the height of which, on January 4, 2021, the highest seven-day infection rate recorded in the borough was 727.7 cases per 100,000.

Infection rates also remain above the current national average of 519 per 100,000 in Farnham Moor Park and The Bourne (1,080.6), Tongham (878), Farnham Town (799), Upper Hale (719.2), Croookham, Ewshott and Crondall (713.6), Hindhead, Beacon Hill and Frensham (661.2), Elstead and Milford (628.4), Weybourne and Badshot Lea (587.4), and Wrecclesham (529.8).

Cases are also soaring in neighbouring Hart district, which has now overtaken Waverley to have the 15th highest infection rate in the country, with 768.4 cases per 100,000 people.

East Hampshire currently has an infection rate of 566.9 cases per 100,000.

The threat of rising infections, and the new Omicron variant, has prompted another scaling up of Farnham’s community vaccine programme.

Plans are in place to deliver 1,100 jabs a day over the next week, ensuring every adult in the town who wants a third booster jab can get one by Christmas Eve.

Dr Ed Wernick, the GP leading Farnham’s vaccine roll-out, said he has been assured there is enough vaccine supply to meet this target. And he praised the "fantastic" response of volunteers, after all volunteer slots at the Farnham Hospital clinic were filled within hours of being made available on Wednesday.

He added GP practices are "still open for business" and patients must still contact their surgery if they have any urgent health needs. But added "if it can wait till the new year, then we would ask them to do that", or to seek advice from pharmacies on minor ailments.

It is also hoped Farnham’s secondary school vaccinations will now be completed before the Christmas holidays, after only getting under way this month - two months after the government gave the all clear for 12 to 15 year olds to receive Covid jabs.

Dr Wernick and parents have previously expressed their irritation at the town’s school jab delays, and were this week joined by MP Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt said: "This has been immensely frustrating but after last week’s announcement by the NHS and the government making vaccination a top priority, I am finally confident it will be resolved."

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