Around three quarters of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Staffordshire are from the new coronavirus strain, health bosses have revealed.

Dr Richard Harling, director for health and care at Staffordshire County Council, said the new strain was known to spread more easily than previous iterations.

He added that 75% of confirmed cases were now from the new variant.

“It was inevitable that the new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 would make its way to Staffordshire, so it is even more important we do everything we can to stop the spread

“This means staying at home, washing hands, wearing a face covering if you do have to go out and about, and keeping your distance from others.

“We are also encouraging people who need to be out and about for work to get tested regularly at one of our community testing centres – it takes 45 minutes and means we can stop any spread in its tracks.”

Dr Richard Harling

Dr Harling said the new strain meant following current guidance to only leave home for essential reasons was now more important than ever.

“Lockdown is having an effect in Staffordshire, in that we are seeing a slow levelling off and even a slight reduction in cases. Coupled with an effective roll-out of the vaccine, there are many things to look forward to.

“Our residents and businesses have been fantastic so far, and their efforts are really making a difference.

“However, we are at a crucial stage in this pandemic and cannot afford to be complacent, especially with this new variant – we must keep going, keep following the rules, and get tested regularly to stop the spread and reduce cases.”

Dr Richard Harling

Community testing centres are currently in operation across Lichfield and Burntwood in a bid to identify “silent spreaders”.

People without symptoms can book a test at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/testing.

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