COVID-19 infection rates have increased in Kirklees over the festive period and the council’s Director of Public Health is urging everyone to stay safe this New Year.
Cases and Hospitalisations
There were 777 new positive COVID-19 cases in the borough over the last seven days, which is an increase of around 14 per cent from the previous week.
There were 55 Kirklees residents admitted to hospital in the last week (Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield hospitals) who tested positive for COVID-19.
Sadly, 12 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 died in one of these hospitals over the same time period.
The latest data shows that in the last seven days 177 per 100,000 people in Kirklees tested positive for COVID-19, compared to the previous week when it was 155 per 100,000 people.
The Government announced on 30 December 2020 that, alongside the rest of Yorkshire, Kirklees will remain under Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions.
Tier 3 prevents us from mixing and socialising indoors where the risk of spreading the virus is at its highest.
We can meet each other, in groups of up to six people, in some outdoor places such as parks and public gardens.
Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants must remain closed, with the exception of takeaway sales.
The Government has also announced that secondary school and college pupils will return from the Christmas holidays later than planned.
Primary school pupils will return on normal dates as planned in Kirklees.
Community Testing Service
On 18 December 2020, the council launched a new community testing service, which means anyone without symptoms that lives or works in Kirklees can now get tested.
Four walk-in testing centres are open in Batley, Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Ravensthorpe.
The centres are open to every resident of Kirklees who is over the age of eleven and who doesn’t have any symptoms of the virus.
All centres are open 8 am-8 pm every day. The last tests will take place at 7:30 pm each day.
If you are still in a queue at 7:30 pm, the council can’t guarantee you’ll get a test that day.
Please remember that if you believe have any symptoms of COVID-19, you must self isolate and should book a test immediately by calling 119 or going to https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
‘This year has to be different’
Speaking on the rise of infections, Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said: “For the first time since early November, we’ve seen our rate of COVID-19 infections rise in Kirklees.
“There were 777 new positive COVID-19 cases in the borough over the last seven days which is an increase of around 14 per cent.
“The danger, if we are not careful, is that this will continue to increase and will ultimately lead to more people in hospital, greater pressure on our vital health services and more people will lose their lives.
“New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are usually times when we all come together to celebrate, but unfortunately this year has to be different.
“The restrictions on meeting with other households are not being eased for New Year celebrations. I’m urging everyone in Kirklees to continue to follow the restrictions in place which prevent us from mixing with other households.
“The best way you can play your part is by staying at home and celebrating the New Year with only your household or within your support bubble.”
Identifying Asymptomatic Cases
Ms Spencer-Henshall added that with one in three people on average having no symptoms, and with the restrictions having been eased over Christmas, there is a higher chance at this time that there are many people who are infected without realising.
She said: “Another important way people in Kirklees can now play their part is to get tested as part of our community testing programme.
“If you don’t have symptoms, simply turn up at one of our four testing centres across the borough.
“This is our effort to identify as many asymptomatic COVID-19 cases as possible so we can prevent people from unknowingly passing the virus on to others.
“For all the challenges and struggles we’ve faced during the last year, the togetherness and community spirit in Kirklees has shone through every single time. The remarkable efforts shown by all of you in such difficult times is how I will remember 2020.”
“This can be a really difficult time of the year for some people, and many more than normal face being alone due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want you to know that we are here to support you. If you’re vulnerable and need support, please visit Kirklees Council’s website or call 0800 4561114.”