Cherwell District Council addresses Covid amid Omicron variant concern

Cherwell District Council reaffirmed its support for ramping up Covid vaccinations despite “steeply rising” case rates steadying in the area.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 4:31 pm

The latest data showed 1,155 confirmed cases across Cherwell, a rate of 760.6 per 100,000 people, for the seven days up to December 9.

The figure had been shooting up with rising rates nationally causing new measures to be implemented by government, including the mandatory wearing of face coverings and vaccine passports - people having to prove they have been double jabbed or provide a negative test result to enter certain crowded events.

Current guidance stipulates people should work from home where possible, leading the council to reduce in-person numbers at this week’s meeting of full council to the minimum required for decisions to stand.

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One of the worst affected areas of Cherwell remains Bodicote, Adderbury and Bloxham, although a drop of 20 cases means the rate there is down to 981.3 per 100,000 people.

The rest of the councillors joined online and were able to speak but those not present could not vote on decisions or propose or second motions.

The volume of councillors from each party was weighted to reflect the number of members each party has.

Vice-chair Cllr Les Sibley (Ind, Bicester West), who chaired the meeting in the absence of Cllr Hannah Banfield (Lab, Banbury Cross & Neithrop), said: “Following Sunday’s address to the nation by the prime minister, booster jabs will now be offered to everyone aged 18 and over in England.

“Boris Johnson gave this update just hours after the UK’s Covid alert was raised to level four due to the new Omicron variant.

“Level four means a high or rising level of transmission. The last time we were in this position was in May.

“Cases in Cherwell are continuing to rise steeply. Covid still represents a significant risk, particularly with the Omicron variant now in circulation in our district. Scientists believe a third dose of vaccine will help to increase our protection against the new variant.

“To get the booster, it needs to be three months since people have had their second dose. The vaccination programme as a whole remains key and people are to be encouraged to get their jab whatever stage they are at, whether that is the first, second or third dose.

“We will be working with our health partners to continue to support them over the coming weeks as we move at pace to increase the number of vaccinations delivered.”

One of the worst affected areas of Cherwell remains Bodicote, Adderbury and Bloxham, although a drop of 20 cases means the rate there is down to 981.3 per 100,000 people.

Across Oxfordshire there were 5,169 confirmed cases in the week up to December 9 with a drop in cases being seen in the district of West Oxfordshire, but sharp rises still being seen in Oxford, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse council areas.