Cumbria’s health boss is urging people to think carefully about their Christmas plans.
Colin Cox, the county’s director of public health, said people should think about the risk of more social contact particularly with family members who are vulnerable, and to celebrate in a safe and responsible way.
The latest data shows the number of new COVID-19 cases rising again, though with significant variation between districts.
COVID-19 infections are rising steeply in most parts of the country.
The county council said there were 472 new cases recorded in week ending December 11, up 23 per cent from the previous week.
The news comes as all of Cumbria was confirmed as remaining under Tier 2 COVID-19 restrictions.
Between December 23 and 27, the Government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time – allowing three households to form an exclusive ‘bubble’ which can mix indoors in private homes and stay overnight.
‘Bubbles’ are restricted to three households in total. A household cannot be part of multiple ‘bubbles.’
However, with these relaxations of the rules, come concerns of an increase in infection rates and a third wave of the virus in the new year.
Cumbrians are being urged to reflect on their circumstances, think about any possible exposure from work or school that could put loved ones at risk and consider other ways to celebrate such as using technology to get together virtually.
Mr Cox said: “We know it’s been a difficult year and people will want to spend time with their loved ones over Christmas, but we want them to really think twice about taking risks with their family’s health, particularly loved ones who are vulnerable – such as grandparents.
“In my family we won’t be visiting grandparents this year for just these reasons. That’s not easy, but we’d rather miss this Christmas to be sure of being able to celebrate many more.
“We know from experience how quickly the virus can spread. It would be extremely easy, if we aren’t careful and sensible, to find ourselves facing a third wave in Cumbria, with hospitals under pressure and tighter restrictions imposed after Christmas.
“If you do decide to visit others, keep doing the basics – hands, face, space – and over Christmas remember: no more than three households in your ‘bubble’, clean touch points regularly, keep indoor spaces well-ventilated and follow rules on self-isolation if you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.”