COVID: Liverpool health bosses issue urgent advice as new variants cause surge in coronavirus cases

Guidance from Liverpool’s Health Protection Board includes wearing a face mask, avoiding crowded spaces and avoiding public transport.

Liverpool’s Health Protection Board (HPB) has issued new advice to residents and commuters in the city following a ‘sharp rise’ in COVID cases.

The move comes after one of the UK’s most senior health officials urged people to wear masks in crowded places amid fears coronavirus hospital admissions are set to hit an 18-month high.

The latest surge is predominantly due to the spread of new Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, which demonstrates the ability of the virus to keep on changing.

Liverpool’s Health Protection Board advice includes wearing a face covering in public. Image: carballo - stock.adobe.com

The Liverpool HPB say the sharp increase in cases has the potential to disrupt essential services in the city.

COVID rise in Liverpool

The latest figures show that infections in Liverpool have risen by one third in the last week, and are now at over 200 per 100,000 people, the highest since April 2022 when the Omicron BA.2 variant saw a significant spike in cases.

The number of people hospitalised with COVID is also increasing again. There are almost 200 infected people in hospital in Liverpool, and there has been a small number of outbreaks in health and social care settings.

Anecdotally, many people who have escaped infection to date are now getting infected for the first time. In addition, one in five people who get infected have previously had the infection.

COVID vaccines remain highly effective in protecting people from serious illness due to these latest variants. However, infection from these variants can still make people feel very unwell and bedridden for several days.

How to protect yourself and others

  • The best method of protection is an up to date Covid vaccination and booster. You can still book an appointment online or by calling 119. Alternatively, you can attend a drop-in clinic – where no appointment is needed.
  • The risk of catching or passing on Covid is highest in crowded, enclosed and poorly ventilated spaces, so where possible, try and meet outdoors, and let fresh air in if meeting indoors.
  • If you cannot avoid a crowded space, wear a face covering. Please wear a face covering when you are visiting the GP, dentist or pharmacy or someone at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from Covid.
  • Keep up good hygiene routines, including washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • If you have a cough and a high temperature or you don’t feel well enough to carry out normal activities, stay at home if at all possible and away from other people until you feel well, so you don’t pass on infection. If you live with others, keep your home well-ventilated until your symptoms improve.
  • If you do go out, wear a mask, avoid public transport and keep your distance from people.
  • If you have a positive Covid test result, stay at home if at all possible and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test. Avoid contact with people at higher risk of serious illness for 10 days.
  • If someone in your household tests positive, there is a high risk you will become infected. It can take up to 10 days for infection to develop. Limit your contact with other people outside your household.
  • Wear a face mask if you do need to have close contact with others or if you are in a crowd and stay away from people at higher risk of becoming severely ill - like the elderly or those who are pregnant, the unvaccinated and those with lowered immunity.