Public health officials warn councillors about increase in known covid cases in Hertfordshire

“Believed to be driven by ‘descendent’ of Omicron”
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PUBLIC health officials say they have started to see an increase in the number of people known to have covid in Hertfordshire.

At a meeting of the county council’s public health and community safety cabinet panel on September 20, councillors were told there had not been a peak of covid over the summer.

However head of health protection Geraldine Bruce highlighted a graph showing that in August and into September there was an increase in the number of positive cases.

Covid germ. Image: Shawon - stock.adobe.comCovid germ. Image: Shawon -
Covid germ. Image: Shawon -

She said it is believed this was driven by the BA.2.86 variant – a ‘descendent’ of Omicron.

“This is a variant that is under investigation currently with UKHSA,” she said.

“And that is because there’s various new spike proteins on the outside of the virus. So they are looking to see what that actually means for people.

“So, will it be more transmissible? Will it cause more severity of disease?

“At this stage people aren’t showing increased severity of disease. But as a precautionary measure the booster programme – which is normally rolled out around October/November time – has been brought forward.”

She said that currently everybody in care homes are among those being offered the booster vaccination.

And she said that at the same time it had been decided to bring flu vaccines forward so that it could be administered at the same time.

She told councillors the aim was to suppress the peak in the number of infections.

And while people may still contract the covid virus, she said the hope was that it would not lead to severity of disease or to hospital admissions.

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