Cllr Sandra Duffy: "The latest figures are concerning, particularly with the Omicron variant also on the increase."
Sinn Féin councillor, Sandra Duffy, has urged people to keep themselves safe and get vaccinated after Derry & Strabane recorded the second-highest Covid rate in North last week.
Figures from the Department of Health for the period of December 13 to 19 showed a sharp spike from 686.8 cases per 100,000 to a staggering 831.5.
Only Ards & Down has a worse Covid rate as they topped the North's list with 874.3 cases per 100,000.
The lowest rate was to be found at Causeway Coast and Glens (575.1) with the average rate for the North as a whole registering at 772.7.
Derry & Strabane's dramatic rise in cases has given grave cause for concern – especially as it was only a month ago that the area was posting the lowest case rates in the North.
And Cllr Duffy, who represents the Ballyarnett ward and is Sinn Féin's local health spokesperson, has issued a plea to Derry's public to take extra care in order to ensure the rise in Covid cases does not spiral towards an even higher figure.
She said: “The latest figures are concerning, particularly with the Omicron variant also on the increase.
“This re-emphasises the need to follow the health advice and get vaccines and boosters in order to protect yourself and your family.
“Limit your social contacts because the fewer the people you come into contact with, the less chance there is for you to either catch the virus or to spread it.
“Take a lateral flow test before meeting up with others, wear face coverings, meet outdoors if possible, if you are meeting indoors make sure you have good ventilation and work from home if you can.
“Do everything that you can to keep yourself and your family safe over the Christmas period.”
Department of Health figures also showed that the total of positive cases for Derry & Strabane now lies at 32,660 with 220,154 people in the BT47 and BT48 postcodes having been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Department figures stated that this past week saw two Covid patients – one aged between 0-19 and the other between 20-39 years of age – being admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital.
Out of the 12 ICU beds in the hospital, half were occupied by Covid patients. Four beds had non-Covid patients with the remaining two beds being free.
From the six patients at Altnagelvin being ventilated, only one was not a Covid patient.
Bed occupation for Covid patients as a whole was at 8.22 per cent with 85.27 per cent of beds having non-Covid patients.
Altnagelvin Hospital was recorded as running at 2.83 per cent over capacity with 6.52 per cent awaiting admission.
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