Penrith has been identified as a possible location for a new mass COVID vaccination site — although Cumbria’s health chief has said this would not be put in place until late March.
The county’s director of public health Colin Cox held a live question and answer session online last week, when he revealed Penrith was a possible location for one of the new vaccination sites.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Cox said: “There are a range of mass vaccination centres proposed and Penrith is one of those options, but it is not planned to open in the immediate future. If it becomes necessary if would be much later in March.”
He added that the system of vaccines being rolled out by primary care networks in North Cumbria was working well.
Last week, some patients in Eden received NHS letters inviting them to receive their COVID jabs at Kendal’s mass vaccination site at the Westmorland hospital, rather than at the Penrith vaccination hub at Penrith hospital.
Eden Primary Care Network head of operations Anna Sives said the letters had been sent out to anyone who lives within 45 minutes of the Kendal site, but she was surprised by the move given that Eden is on track in its delivery of the jabs.
It remains a matter of choice for patients whether they receive the vaccination at Penrith or Kendal. She added that letters inviting residents for appointments at Penrith vaccination hub would always be sent out on letter headed paper from the patient’s GP practice or via a phone call from the practice reception.
Official Government figures released on Thursday showed that 1,066 Cumbrians have now died of COVID-19, with 116 being Eden residents, up to the week ending 22nd January.
However, new infections continued to fall in the week ending 29th January.
All of Cumbria’s hospitals continue to treat unprecedented numbers of patients with COVID-19, with high numbers being seriously ill or requiring intensive care.
Mr Cox said: “We’ve known we would pass 1,000 deaths, though seeing it in the official figures is stark and my thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one.
“While the fall in new infections is very welcome, infection rates are still high and the position in our hospitals remains extremely serious, with numbers continuing to grow in the south of the county.
“I understand how tired people are of lockdown, I am too. With where we are now it is still too soon to ease up. We have to get infection rates right down to avoid yet another resurgence.”
For the week ending 29th January, there were 1,321 new cases in Cumbria — a decrease of 599, which is a 31 per cent drop from the 1,920 cases recorded in the previous week.
For the seventh week in a row Carlisle had the greatest number of new cases (380) and rates in Carlisle, Allerdale and Barrow-in-Furness were above the national average.
The total of new cases decreased from the previous week in all Cumbrian districts.