Health chiefs say essential services could be disrupted across Staffordshire after coronavirus rates hit a record high.


The latest seven-day figures show that 1,000 people per 100,000 had tested positive.

Dr Richard Harling, director of health at Staffordshire County Council, said the news meant there was now an increased risk of essential services not being able to operate due to staff isolating.

He added that people should limit contact with those they did not live with – and that those heading out to celebrate New Year should test beforehand.

“The spread of the Omicron variant is causing case rates to rise very rapidly.

“While vaccination offers a level of protection against the variant, the increased transmission poses a risk to the operation of essential services in the county, such as health and social care, due to key workers potentially needing to isolate.

“We can all play our part by avoiding unnecessary risk over the New Year period that could result in further spread of infection.

“Testing before meeting people or going to crowded places is key to this, along with limiting unnecessary social contact.” 

Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council

Although residents are being asked to test, there is currently a shortage of availability in some areas.

People can find out where they can be found here or order home testing kits online.

Dr Harling added:

“Early indications show that two vaccines and a booster jab offer people good protection against the new Omicron variant, so if you are awaiting your booster jab, please get an appointment booked in as soon as possible.”

Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council

Vaccine appointments can be booked at and local walk-in clinic information can be found at

Join the Conversation


Our volunteers moderated 1657 comments in the last 30 days. Say thanks with a coffee.

  1. School open Tuesday. They are virus and bacterium central at the best of times, but the explosion of contamination at the start of a new term is well known to staff. My main concern is the long term physical effects on children, supposedly balanced against the economy and the children’s mental health (very suddenly a government concern, despite cuts to Universal Credit, child mental health services, health services, costs and availability of transport, etc etc).

  2. Colleagues and students who got the expected Covid for Christmas will be just about well enough to come back to their badly ventilated classrooms. How long before they are ill again? Students are mostly unvaccinated. How are they supposed to prepare for (largely unchanged) public exams like this? Pretending everything is OK is massively detrimental to everyone’s mental and physical health.

  3. Yes yes we would all like to be responsible and test before meeting people, only you can’t get LFT tests anywhere! Goodness knows what will happen when schools go back next week.
    Great advice Dr Harling, but think you might need to eat your words.

  4. Two things…. vaccines need time for your immune system to produce antibodies. Seven to ten days is considered about right for this. As Omicrom is so infectious you can still catch and transmit it even after you have had all three injections.
    Secondly… As history confirms, success in life is not restricted to the paper trail of qualifications. In fact, if I had to re-sit my GCE exams I doubt the outcome would flatter me. As a yardstick to people’s potential it is a very blunt assessment. It is better to be generous when assessment is made on disenfranchised students; they have not had the normal opportunity for study. Life will level the playing field anyway.

  5. Yet more incompetence from our wonderful government. Boris the buffoon telling everyone to get tests so that they don’t have to isolate, but when they do, there aren’t enough tests to go round. Do these people think things through, or just come out with anything to keep their backbenchers happy? Also read about people not being told about the most effective masks to use, let alone being provided with them. And I am getting heartily sick of hearing people moaning about wearing masks, and seeing far too many people not wearing them. It is a very small price to pay to help others stay safe. It is also the law in many places, although I see no evidence of it being enforced.

  6. “I am getting heartily sick of hearing people moaning about wearing masks” .. and some people are getting heartily sick of hearing people like you constantly imposing their hypochondria on others. So much for being fully vaccinated / protected if you are so in fear of those who have assessed their own individual circumstances, as Professor Neil Ferguson has long advised, and behave accordingly. And as for laws, they are not laws, they are advisories as proven by the countless cases thrown out by the CPS.

  7. Jonesy85 – it can hardly be described as hypochondria when the number of COVID cases is rocketing up, hospital admissions are increasing, and sadly so are the numbers of deaths. That is not hypochondria, look it up in the dictionary. As for people assessing their own circumstances, yes by all means, but experience has shown us that many people are not very good at that. The wearing of face coverings in certain places is in fact the law at the moment, and will be until at least March. The fact that neither the police nor the courts seem to be enforcing it doesn’t change that. There is a saying that the law is only there for the bad people, as the good guys would be doing the right thing anyway.

  8. I have assessed my own risk as low yet I will wear a mask where I am advised to do so. Why? Because it’s a common courtesy to others who feel less confident or who may be higher risk but want to try and restore a degree of normality to their lives. It’s a small price to pay in my view. I do not think it should be left to shop workers, train guards etc. to enforce – people should just follow the advice out of respect for others rather than wilfully ignoring a simple request.

  9. By my understanding, as quoted on GOV site. Face covering are now Compulsary. …
    Shops, Supermarkets on Public Transport.,etc etc ( 200£ first OFFENCE, 100£ if you pay within 14 days) etc
    Full Implementation is impossible.
    I have made a personal choice to adhere to the Mandate. I am not happy being around those who do not Wear Masks. Why should I risk my Health and Wellbeing because of these Selfish ones… Exempt accepted.

  10. England, face coverings are now required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis .

    This is from UK Government website.

  11. Is it any wonder rates are high…trying to book a booster jab and not one place in Lichfield to get it! This is a city for Pete’s sake! It is not always convenient to drive to Tamworth, with work taking precedent and no car available to me. If Fabricant had anything about him he should be sorting this out, but instead he’s massaging his ego any opportunity he gets.

  12. @jonesy85 – we are 2 years into this pandemic and you don’t seem to appreciate that masks are primarily to protect other people, not the wearer. Some of the higher-grade masks such as FFP2 and FFP3s provide a degree of protection to the wearer also – I prefer to wear these, and I also prefer to stay away from people who can’t show a bit of courtesy and consideration for others unless they are forced to do so by the law. Pathetic.

  13. Ed – if you haven’t check with your GP about booster try that. Boosters are being done in Lichfield. Or at least they were a couple weeks ago. I initially booked booster via the main NHS booking system and it didn’t offer anywhere in Lichfield so I picked Tamworth. Before my appointment date I got a text message from my GP inviting me to book via a different system that offered me Samuel Johnson on a date earlier than I had booked for Tamworth. So I booked at Samuel Johnson then cancelled the other appointment. I’m not saying anything about that is particularly good. Would obviously be better if main NHS website had offered me Samuel Johnson.

  14. @Gerald – thank you for the advice. Yes I had previously booked Tamworth when I was able to go, but unfortunately had to cancel due to being ill. My wife had also booked Tamworth and was indeed, like yourself, offered Samuel Johnson while waiting for the Tamworth appt. Seems a daft system but it’s all we have I guess, so I will book Tamworth and hope the offer of Lichfield comes through. I do think that Lichfield being a city should have more locations for the booster jab though.

  15. Well, Boris the buffoon’s much heralded press conference revealed that he doesn’t intend to do anything. That should keep his backbenchers happy. 100,000 key workers are to be told to do daily tests, without any indication of how they will be provided with them. The NHS will apparently be able to get through this, despite several trusts already declaring a critical incident. The seeds of the crisis in the NHS have been sown over the last few decades; the pandemic just revealed how under staffed and under resourced it is. Incompetence doesn’t even begin to describe it. Yes, there will undoubtedly be an impact on essential services, and we can thank the incompetent Tories for much of this.

Leave a comment
Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy before posting.

Your email address will not be published.