Devon health boss issues ‘get tested’ plea after change in Covid self-isolation rules

Devon health chiefs are advising double-jabbed people to be cautious and still get tested for Covid-19 despite a change in the regulations last week.

Since Monday, August 16, people who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus no longer have to self-isolate, provided they received their second vaccination more than a fortnight ago.

The rule also applies to everyone under 18 and those who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons, writes Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Heptinstall.

Devon’s director of public health Steve Brown said the move will ‘inevitably’ lead to a ‘slight uptick’ in Covid cases due to many close contacts being out in public.

He recommends these people take tests to help protect others.

“My advice would be to still be quite cautious,” said Mr Brown. “If you are identified as a close contact you are more likely to be infected.

“The possibility to infect others is still there, so consider taking a PCR test to see whether you have the infection.”

He added: “If you are going out and about – going to work or to visit particularly vulnerable people – then I would recommend you take a lateral flow test before you go out.

“And just be conscious for that ten-day period there is a probability or likelihood you might have it and just to be sensible.”

VACCINATIONS AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE

Mr Brown also revealed that in the Devon NHS area, which excludes Torbay and Plymouth, two-thirds of young people aged between 18 and 29 have now had their first covid vaccination, with more than one in five receiving both jabs.

While he says they may not have taken jabs entirely for public health reasons – pointing to ‘getting into nightclubs, going on holidays etc’ – he added: “Purely from a public health point of view, I don’t really mind what motivates them [but]I do hope they get motivated by the benefits.

“We are seeing relatively good uptake. We are going over and above what we would normally do to try and engage young people, so the use of social media, putting mobile vaccination sites in and around the city of Exeter, for example, to try and encourage young people to come forward.”

For all adults, the proportion aged 18 or over who have received at least one dose of a vaccine is now 88 per cent in the Devon County Council area, while  78 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

Eligible Devon residents could get Covid booster and flu jabs in one go