Coronavirus: Cambridgeshire fares better than other areas says health chief
PUBLISHED: 17:06 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:50 07 May 2020
Cambridgeshire has fared better than other areas during the pandemic partly because of residents’ behaviour, the county’s director of public health has said.
Speaking at Cambridgeshire County Council’s health committee on May 5, Liz Robin said the death rate in the county is “relatively low compared to the national average and to the regional average”.
Dr Robin said the county’s rural geography and distance from London has played a role, but that it is “what the community does that is most important to prevent the spread”.
The director of public health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council also said the county’s hospitals have coped so far and have beds available.
Dr Robin said the peak of the pandemic has now passed and said “in Cambridgeshire and the East of England it’s been a bit more of a plateau, but we think we are just beginning to see that coming down”.
Dr Robin told the committee: “I would like to thank local residents for the way that they have listened to and responded to the government’s stay at home rules.”
She said “every death from COVID-19 is a tragedy”, but said “what we are seeing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is that our death rates are relatively low compared to the national average and to the regional average.
“Some of this can be put down to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough being relatively far from London, which had high rates, and also to the rural nature of the area.
“But I think it can also be put down to the way that every local resident has behaved, because in this pandemic and with this infection, it is what the community does that makes the biggest difference.
“What we do as public services is important, but it’s what the community does that is most important to prevent the spread.
“I think that the community in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has really stood up to that challenge, and that is reflected in some of the figures that we are now getting through.
“Although we are at a very early stage and clearly we need to see how this progresses, so I don’t want to say too much too early, but I think it does reflect a community that really has listened and done the right thing.
“As circumstances change, I very much hope that we are able to continue with that across the area.”
She added: “It’s because the communities have behaved in the way that they have that our NHS is not overloaded and our NHS capacity in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been able to cope throughout, certainly to date, and has had beds and intensive care beds available.”
Dr Robin said in Cambridgeshire “the challenge going forward will be to work through a national-regional-local system to increase contact tracing. The testing has been ramped up, we now need to track and contact trace.”
She said work is increasing on preparing for the “new normal”.
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