Covid: next few weeks are ‘critical’, says Derry GP

A Derry GP says the next few days and weeks are critical in the fight against the spread of the new Covid-19 variant.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 17th December 2021, 9:52 am
Dr Tom Black.
Dr Tom Black.

Dr Tom Black says the current situation - with the Omicron variant believed to be spreading rapidly in the community - is “extremely worrying”.

He said: “Our Chief Medical Officer said this week that he was more worried now than at any other time in the pandemic and I agree. We don’t fully know the impact this new variant will have but initial signs in England are very worrying in that it seems to spread extremely quickly.

“With that, we run the risk of some people becoming so ill they will need hospital treatment. As I have said before, this has a knock-on effect on people who need treatment for other issues - either surgery they have been waiting for or treatment for a long term condition.

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“The next few weeks are critical. I would strongly encourage people to really consider what they can do over the next few days to slow the spread of this new variant. This is important for several reasons: to protect yourself, to protect your family and to protect the wider community.

“If we end up in a situation where healthcare staff are also off sick or isolating, it is hard to see how our health service will manage in January.”

Dr Black is urging people to be responsible in the run-up to Christmas.

“If you can reduce your social contacts, now is the time to do that,” he said.

“Finally and most importantly, get your booster jab if it’s due. There are walk-in clinics available at GP practices, pharmacies and at the Foyle Arena. This will give you the best protection against Omicron.”

It’s understood that a peak in coronavirus case numbers is expected in the third week of January, with hospital admissions peaking in late January or February.