“As we move into the colder season…”
On Friday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA) raised concerns about a potential uptick in COVID-19 cases as winter approaches. Dr. Mary Ramsay, the Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, emphasized that recent surveillance data indicates a slight rise in COVID-19 infection rates. With the onset of colder months and increased indoor gatherings, it is expected that COVID-19 cases will continue to rise, alongside the typical increase in other respiratory viruses such as the flu.
Surge in COVID Cases in the UK
The UKSHA released data sourced from the Respiratory DataMart System, revealing that 12% of the 3848 respiratory specimens collected tested positive for COVID-19. Furthermore, the agency noted an increase in COVID-related hospital admissions from 4.36 per 100,000 people to 6.13 per 100,000.
This may signify the commencement of the winter surge in COVID
Dr. Ramsay stressed that there is now clear evidence of an increase that may mark the beginning of the expected winter surge in COVID-19. She encouraged those eligible to get vaccinated to enhance their protection. With cases on the rise and hospitalizations increasing among the elderly, the coming weeks may exert additional pressure on healthcare services.
“Please Stay Home”
The UKSHA strongly advises individuals who are unwell to stay at home and avoid contact with vulnerable populations. Dr. Ramsay underlined the importance of recognizing that COVID-19 and the flu, though mild for many, can lead to severe illness or even death among the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Emergence of Pirola and Eris Subvariants
New subvariants of the Omicron variant of the COVID-causing coronavirus, Pirola and Eris, are currently circulating. These subvariants, believed to be more contagious, have been identified in various countries, including the UK, US, South Africa, Canada, Israel, and Denmark.
Have COVID Symptoms Changed?
To date, there have been no reported changes in COVID symptoms. The most common symptoms remain fever, chills, sore throat, cough, headache, shortness of breath, hoarse voice, dizziness, and more. COVID-19-infected individuals also commonly experience fatigue, numbness, sleep difficulties, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.
How to Stay Safe
Preventative measures like frequent handwashing, mask-wearing, avoiding crowded places, staying indoors, and getting vaccinated are crucial for preventing COVID-19 infections and reducing the severity of illness. Health authorities encourage immediate COVID-19 testing upon experiencing symptoms.