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Guildford and Surrey Have High, Increasing Covid Infection Rates as New Variant Looms

Published on: 30 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 30 Nov, 2021

There are concerns that current vaccination immunity will be less effective against the Omicron variant.

By Martin Giles

With news of yet another, more infectious Covid variant, “Omicron”, reaching the UK, the pandemic has returned to the national headlines. From today, mask-wearing in shops and on public transport is once again mandatory although it remains to be seen how strictly it will be enforced.

The latest local statistics show that Surrey and Guildford are suffering high infection rates at the moment, for the county the highest since last winter. Surrey has a higher rate than all the other bordering higher tier, local authority areas. Rates are increasing in all of them.

The infection rate in Guildford Borough is almost up to its October peak which exceed the earlier peak in December 2020. But testing is probably more extensive now which could affect the number of confirmed cases detected.

But the good news is that hospital admissions and deaths which always lag behind infections remain low. There were three deaths where Covid was mentioned on the death certificates in the most recent week reported and only 10 admissions at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

And further good news is that in the two NHS areas that cover the borough, Surrey Heartlands and Frimley, the booster vaccination programme has already administered injections to 264,000 recipients. The over 12 population of the area covered by Surrey Heartlands is 840,000, so the booster programme is already nearly one-third complete.

It has now been announced that all adults are to receive booster jabs and that the time-elapse from the second injection is cut to just three months.

The stevedore at Guildford wharf pre-empted the enhanced mask-wearing rules earlier this week. Photo David Reading

All attention is now on how effective the vaccinations received so far will be at countering Omicron and how lethal it will be for those who become infected, especially those in the older more vulnerable sections of the population. Scientists say it will take about three weeks before it is known how the variant impacts on the effectiveness of vaccines.

See also: Local Covid-19 Stats

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