Neighbouring Buckinghamshire Council declares ‘Major Incident’ over virus cases

    A neighbouring local authority to Milton Keynes have declared a 'major incident' amid fears the rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the council area's health and social care services.

    Buckinghamshire Council have worked in consultation with health service partners to declare the incident.

    It covers the whole of the county of Buckinghamshire except Milton Keynes.

    Leader of Buckinghamshire Council Martin Tett said: “Whilst today’s announcement about the approval of the Oxford vaccine is excellent news, we still need to deal with the deteriorating situation we face immediately across the county. "

    "Figures up to 24 December put the number of cases now up at 514 per 100,000 and current projections are expecting this to increase to closer to 800 per 100,000 by next week."

    "The average COVID-19 rate per 100,000 of the population in England is currently 402.6. We believe that this rapid increase is due to the spread of the new, more transmissible COVID variant across much of the south east, particularly prior to the introduction of the Tier 4 regulations."

    "Of real concern is that this increase is also being seen in our older age groups. Our rate in the over 60 years population is now putting our health and social care services under very severe pressure - the rates in this age group have gone up by over 60% and we think this will continue at least for the next two weeks."

    "I would encourage everyone to stay at home as much as possible and help those who are most vulnerable, by offering to collect their shopping and prescriptions etc.”

    Neil Macdonald, Chief Executive Officer for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust - which does not include the Milton Keynes area - said: “Due to a rise in the number of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19, along with the need to maintain services across the Trust, some temporary changes have been made to ensure safe and appropriate staffing levels at all times and to ensure that we have enough beds to meet current and anticipated demand."

    "This includes postponing or delaying some non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments but urgent operations, including cancer, will continue as planned."

    "I want to reassure you that we are still here for you and if you are offered an appointment would urge you to keep it - but we need your help at this really busy time to keep our hospitals for those that need them most and are seriously ill."

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