CUMBRIA has seen a 31% rise in infections for Omicron.

The county saw the increase in new COVID-19 infections in week ending 17 December, up to 1,956 from 1,492 the previous week, as the Omicron variant continued to spread.

However the rate of increase has slowed down in recent days meaning that case numbers are not as high as some projections suggested they might be.

For the 4th week in a row South Lakeland had the greatest number of new cases, with 429 new cases.

Barrow had the highest rate of new cases with 504 new cases per 100k population.

Colin Cox, Cumbria's Director of Public Health said: "While case rates are still rising quite sharply, it is encouraging to see that they are not quite as high as we thought they might be.

"There are several factors that might have contributed to this, including school holidays, home working and people taking sensible precautions in the light of what they’re hearing about omicron.

“While lower than expected infections is welcome news, I’m very cautious about the data – there’s no reason why Cumbria should be all that different to the rest of the country, so I think we can expect to see cases continuing to rise significantly over the coming days.

“That’s why my strong advice remains for people to be cautious over the Christmas period and take steps to protect themselves and their communities; get vaccinated, test before you meet people and follow all the infection prevention advice of hand washing, masks, ventilation and social distancing.”