Last chance to protect your loved ones this Christmas

Dr Kathryn Cobain Published Wednesday, 23rd December 2020

Christmas is usually a time for celebrating and sharing food and gifts with family and friends. This year, we must celebrate differently to avoid giving the unwelcome gift of Covid-19.

Christmas is usually a time for celebrating and sharing food and gifts with family and friends. This year, we must celebrate differently to avoid giving the unwelcome gift of Covid-19. 

Across Worcestershire cases of Covid-19 are on the rise.

Worcestershire’s Director for Public Health, Dr Kathryn Cobain, is calling on Worcestershire residents to act now to protect everyone and the NHS over the Christmas period. 

Across Worcestershire, there were 945 new cases of Covid-19 last week, which is an increase of 37% on the previous week.

Malvern Hills District has seen an even greater increase of 137% in the past week alone. 

Meanwhile, pressure on NHS services are growing and are at the same levels seen earlier in the year at the start of the pandemic this is alongside usual winter pressures.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire said: “We are seeing numbers of cases going up sharply in areas which is really concerning.

“We know it’s hard and we all want to see our friends and wider families at this time of year, especially after a long time of being apart. However, the increase we are seeing in numbers brings with it an increase in risk. We know the virus only goes where people go, so please stay safe this Christmas by staying at home in your usual household or support bubbles if you are choosing to see another household keep visits short, stay local and meet outdoors if possible.

“The pressures being felt on NHS services are at the same level as we saw earlier in the pandemic with the additional usual winter pressures this is concerning. We must do all we can to protect the NHS over the festive period and beyond.

“I would urge older or more vulnerable family members to encourage their loved ones to meet them virtually or over the phone rather than face-to-face. I know it’s extremely hard but it’s simply not worth the risk this year.

“It’s not an easy ask but we must change the way we celebrate Christmas this year and it’s the last opportunity we have now.”

Mike Hallissey, Chief Medical Officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said:
“We all know how hard the last few months have been – none more so than the dedicated doctors, nurses and health professionals working on the front line who have seen first-hand just how serious an illness Covid-19 can be.  Although we all want to be celebrating the festive period with our loved ones, and I wish you all a very happy Christmas, I would ask that everyone in our local communities continue to play their part in sticking to the rules over the Christmas period.

“Maintaining social distancing, and continuing the 'Hands, Face, Space' message. There is light at the end of the tunnel with the roll out of the vaccine, and now more than ever preventing avoidable deaths has got to be a top priority. Many of my colleagues will be continuing to work over Christmas,  to ensure those who are in need of our care are looked after, and my thanks goes to them, and all other key workers who are giving up their time over the holiday period.

“If all of us do our bit to help we can reduce the numbers of patients being admitted to our hospitals with Coronavirus and can keep more of our hospital services running for all those who need our care.”

For the latest advice and information on Coronavirus go to the dedicated Coronavirus pages on the Council's website.