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Buckinghamshire Council declares ‘Major Incident’ over rapidly rising COVID-19 infections

COVID-19 case confirmed at Beechwood School

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Buckinghamshire Council has declared a ‘Major Incident’ amid fears rapidly rising COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the county’s health and social care services.

The infection rate for the county stood at 514 cases per 100,000 people as of Christmas Eve.

The council said it expects this number will be closer to 800 per 100,000 by next week.

Martin Tett, leader of the council, said: “Whilst today’s announcement about the approval of the Oxford vaccine is excellent news, we still need to deal with the deteriorating situation we face immediately across the county.

“Figures up to December 24 put the number of cases now up at 514 per 100,000 and current projections are expecting this to increase to closer to 800 per 100,000 by next week.  

The average COVID-19 rate per 100,000 of the population in England is currently 402.6.

“We believe that this rapid increase is due to the spread of the new, more transmissible COVID variant across much of the south east, particularly prior to the introduction of the tier 4 regulations.”

Mr Tett said COVID-19 rates among the county’s over 60s population is putting the county’s health and social care services under severe pressure.

He encouraged everyone to stay at home as much as possible and help those who are most vulnerable by collecting shopping and prescriptions.

Neil Macdonald, chief executive officer for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Due to a rise in the number of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19, along with the need to maintain services across the Trust, some temporary changes have been made to ensure safe and appropriate staffing levels at all times and to ensure that we have enough beds to meet current and anticipated demand.

 “This includes postponing or delaying some non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments but urgent operations, including cancer, will continue as planned.

 “I want to reassure you that we are still here for you and if you are offered an appointment would urge you to keep it - but we need your help at this really busy time to keep our hospitals for those that need them most and are seriously ill.”

Anyone with minor illnesses or problems which are not an emergency should call 111 or use the ASK NHS app. 

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