Communities share Covid-19 pandemic experiences

This story was published 25 November 2022

The profound impact of Covid-19 has been highlighted by communities in North Yorkshire to help shape the planning for the threat of future pandemics and improve the public’s health.

Louise Wallace

The latest Director of Public Health report, covering the period from April 2021 to March this year, includes voices of residents who have spoken of the impact of the pandemic and their wishes for the future.

Issues highlighted in the report include the effect of the pandemic on health, such as obesity and mental wellbeing, alongside longer-term impacts including Long Covid and the increased risk of chronic diseases following an infection of the virus.

The report also looks at how the pandemic has affected education and care settings, the local economy and tourism.

Director of public health, Louise Wallace, said: “Whilst the pandemic is not over there are already many lessons we can learn from our collective response to Covid-19. These will strengthen our response to future health threats and help create a healthier society across North Yorkshire.

“It is important we don’t just try to put things back to the way they were in 2019 before the pandemic – we should take the opportunity to make them better.

“Over the last few years we have seen the benefits of fostering strong community spirit and championing close partnership working between organisations, including voluntary sector groups. Keeping these connections and a sense of collective responsibility for health will be vital as we continue to respond to Covid-19 and other challenges facing us this winter.

“We have also seen the value of key protection measures such as vaccination and good indoor air quality during the pandemic.

“Creating healthier indoor spaces, where most people spend most of their time, will help reduce the spread of infectious diseases and have other positive impacts on health and wellbeing too.”

Other recommendations cover the ongoing need to tackle health inequalities, including particular issues faced by rural and coastal communities.

Read the North Yorkshire Director of Public Health Annual Report 2021-22: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.