Portsmouth residents urged to not 'get complacent' as health experts answer your Covid questions

WE WILL meet the roadmap stages on time if Portsmouth residents do not ‘get complacent’, city health experts have said as part of a one-off Covid panel event.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 7:00 am

A range of coronavirus questions from members of the public were answered during an online session last night.

To begin, the positive news was shared, including the fact there are currently 190 Covid cases in hospital in Portsmouth - 77 fewer than the previous week.

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Clockwise from top left, Portsmouth director of public Helen Atkinson, Cllr Matthew Winnington, Dr Abu Mohammed and Hayley Cook - who hosted the panel - from Portsmouth City Council during the online Covid panel event on March 4, 2021.

City doctor Abu Mohammed said: 'From a Queen Alexandra perspective, since the start there have been roughly 4,000 patients with Covid that have gone through the hospital. At present we have 200 patients in the hospital with Covid.

'Sadly 10 per cent of those currently need mechanical ventilators. The real good news is this number has been decreasing over time.'

Helen Atkinson, the director of public health, praised the work of Portsmouth residents in reducing infection rates through the third lockdown.

But she said: 'It's up to us what will happen next. If we can maintain and keep to the rules as best we can I do believe those (roadmap) stages will be met but if we don't follow the advice and rules and start meeting up with more people the likelihood is the infection rate will go up and stages will be delayed.'

Superintendent Clare Jenkins from Hampshire police agreed. She said: 'I would reiterate the cautiousness that all we all need to take in terms that gradual coming out these restrictions making sure we all adhere to the part we have got to play in that.'

Ms Atkinson also addressed concerns about all students returning to schools next week. 'Schools are well prepared,' she said.

'If you look at age groups it's especially working age adults - so 30 to 50-year-olds that have the highest infection rates. Nought to 14-year-olds have the lowest infection rates and we haven't seen them going up.'

Ms Atkinson and Angela Anderson, the clinical director for the Covid-19 vaccination programme at Solent NHS Trust, said the vaccine programme in Portsmouth had been a 'success' so far with 90 per cent of each group attending theirs.

Ms Anderson added: 'All of the vaccines offered have been through rigorous trials and have been approved for use in the UK by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). They would not be approved if they were not safe to use.'

Questions were raised about whether the seven Covid-19 mutations in the UK would remain.

Councillor Matt Winnington, the city council's health boss, said: 'Yes, but that is not necessarily a bad thing or anything unique.

'All the vaccines we have at the moment work with these mutations. The vaccines and the research will always be there to keep up.'

It was also revealed that all over 55-year-olds in Portsmouth will soon be receiving letters about their vaccines.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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