Healt Matters - By Matt Ashton

BLOG: We need to take action now ahead of a difficult winter

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With Covid-19 cases on the rise again nationally and concerns around pressures on our health and social care services, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Matthew Ashton shares some simple, yet key advice on how we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe this winter…

The last 20 months have been really tough and have impacted on our lives in ways we never thought possible. I know many people may be feeling anxious again, especially with talk of possible future restrictions and an overwhelmed NHS.

With COVID-19 infections steadily increasing, and health and social care services already under exceptional pressure, we are facing a very difficult winter. We are also expecting that there may be high levels of flu around before Christmas. It is time now that we take additional steps locally to prevent a winter crisis, so that we can keep our critical services going.

  • Don’t delay your vaccines – Although the majority of people in Liverpool have been vaccinated, uptake is lower so far compared with the rest of England. It is never too late to get your first COVID vaccine. Sadly, most hospitalised Covid-19 patients are now unvaccinated, and some have needed intensive care. This includes young adults who have regretted delaying getting it.
  • We are seeing pregnant women in hospital too – seriously ill with COVID. The medical advice is clear – if you are pregnant, get vaccinated. It is much safer for you and your baby than getting COVID.
  • Make sure to get your booster COVID jab, as protection from the vaccine may decrease over time. You should be invited for your booster six months after the 2nd dose.
  • Work from home if you can. We are working with employers to encourage a balanced approach to home-working when it is possible.
  • I strongly recommend that everyone wears a face covering in crowded indoor places, on public transport, and in shops and supermarkets, and at school-gates. If we all wear face coverings, we will reduce the spread of the virus. It is still important to keep washing your hands, and open windows and doors to increase ventilation.
  • Isolate and get a PCR test if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Do a rapid flow test (LFT) twice a week. These tests are especially important in identifying cases that don’t display symptoms. Around 1 in3 people who have coronavirus show no symptoms but can still infect other people who can then become seriously ill.

Covid-19 is a nasty virus, and it hasn’t gone away – please look out for your friends and family by adopting these simple measures. They are vital to reduce the spread, reduce hospital admissions and ultimately save lives.

Liverpool Waterfront