CUMBRIA has seen a 56 per cent week-on-week increase in Covid-19 cases with positive tests concentrated among younger age groups.

The confirmation of 1,192 new coranavirus cases in the county has come in the same week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown restrictions would cease on July 19.

The drastic increase also arrived despite a nine per cent reduction in the total number of tests carried out.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public health, said the impact on hospitals was ‘far lower due to the vaccine programme’.

However, hospitals and primary care services are experiencing high levels of non-Covid-related demand.

Mr Cox warned that an increasing number of infections was ‘starting to have big impacts on employers, including health and emergency services’.

“This disruption has real-world consequences, so it still makes absolute sense to try and avoid getting infected or spreading the virus,” he said.

“Even with vaccination there will be those in our communities who will always be at risk from Covid.

“I’d ask people to remember that many people remain vulnerable and, by doing the simple things - masks, hand-washing, distance, fresh air - we can all help protect everyone.

“For me it’s all about respect now, thinking about who you are meeting with, considering the risks, and taking the steps that help us all stay safe.”

New cases of Covid-19 continue to be concentrated among younger age groups, with the case rate among 19-24 year olds now standing at 877 per 100,000 people - almost four times the county average.

Mr Cox urged the public to take up the offer of a vaccine ‘as soon as possible’.

84 per cent of adults in Cumbria have now had their first jabs and 67 per cent have received both.

Around 55,000 people over the age of 18 in the county remain unvaccinated.

“If you aren’t yet vaccinated, then you remain at much higher risk of serious illness from Covid, even if you are young,” said Mr Cox.

“We still have around 55,000 people without the protection offered by the vaccine and I would urge them to take up the offer as soon as possible.

“If you’ve just not got round to it yet, then it’s easier than ever, with an increasing number of drop-in clinics and booked slots now easily available.”

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