By Tatiana Zaituni & Leah Conway –
The COVID-19 infection rate has increased in Kirklees for the first time in 2021. After six consecutive weeks of reductions, the past seven days have seen a rise in cases.
In national news, this week saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson reveal government plans for the four-step roadmap out of lockdown.
Cases and Hospitalisations
With 189 per 100,000 people in Kirklees testing positive for COVID-19 over the last seven days, the borough’s rates have increased by nine per cent over the last week.
Kirklees’ rates remain above the national average of 118 per 100,000 for a second consecutive week.
There were 833 new confirmed positive cases in the last week in Kirklees – more than last week when there were 764.
Around 98 per cent of these cases were of the Kent variant, which has shown to be spread more easily.
There were 49 Kirklees people admitted to local hospitals with COVID-19 over the last week, which has dropped from 84 in the previous period.
There are currently 121 patients from Kirklees in local hospitals with COVID-19 which is lower than last week, when it was 150, but remains high.
There were sadly 21 Covid-19 related deaths in the last week – which has dropped slightly from 23 the previous week.
In the last 7 days, there have been 83,777 confirmed positive cases nationwide – a further decrease from last week.
This week brings us to the end of our eighth week in Lockdown. National lockdown means you should stay at home unless otherwise stated.
On Monday 22 February 2021, Government announced its roadmap for England to gradually and safely come out of lockdown and for all COVID-19 restrictions to eventually be removed. You can read our full summary of the roadmap in our article here.
More than 100,000 Kirklees residents have received their first dose of the vaccine. If you’re over 60 and haven’t been contacted yet, you don’t have to wait – you can book your vaccine now.
As of this week, a total of 18,691,835 people have accepted their first vaccination. Those who have accepted the second dose total is 700,718
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said: “The Government’s roadmap shows us the route we need to take towards safely coming out of lockdown and eventually seeing all restrictions lifted. We can be optimistic, and we can be hopeful, but we cannot be complacent. The threat of the virus to people in Kirklees is still high and we all need to be cautious in the coming weeks.
“Our infections rates have increased in the last week which, during a time of lockdown, is a concern. Around 20 people are still dying every week in local hospitals and NHS services remain under pressure.
“We need to keep the virus under control and follow the roadmap as safely as we possibly can. It’s only with everyone’s joint effort we can do that.”
Ms Spencer-Henshall noted that with hospitalizations falling, it’s believed that we’re starting to see the early signs of the vaccine having an impact.
She also gave thanks to the hard work of the health staff and volunteers, as well as noting the take up from local residents.
“We know the last year has been incredibly tough and it continues to be. But we now have a route out of the restrictions. It’s now everyone’s job to get Kirklees through this roadmap as safely as we can. Thank you for playing your part.
This week’s Covid-19 News in Brief
Boris Johnson has revealed the governments plans for England’s roadmap out of lockdown. The roadmap outlines a four-step process that the UK will follow to gradually lift the lockdown, with the aim of having it fully lifted by 21 June. Each major step will not happen before the specified date, it was confirmed.
Public Health England has confirmed that everyone registered on the GP learning disability register will be invited for vaccination as part of priority group six.
The World Health Organisation has set up the Covax scheme to help spread vaccines to poorer countries and help change the unequal access to vaccines. It wants to ensure that poorer countries will receive access to vaccines at the same time as richer countries.
Holiday booking in the UK surged over the last week as the government’s four-step plan was revealed, with many making plans to travel once the lockdown is lifted.
A study at the DeMonfort University, Leicester has conducted tests to see how long COVID-19 can last on fabrics. They used a ‘model coronavirus’ on polyester, polycotton and 100& cotton.
Their results showed that the virus was present on polyester after three days, cotton after 24 hours and polycotton after six hours. The journal and research are now under peer review.
Secondary schools will have the option to run summer classes for pupils who require them. The government has said it will be up to the schools to decide if they run summer schools and how they want to do them.
People aged 40-49 are next to be prioritised for the COVID -19 vaccine, once those in phase 1 of the rollout, aimed at older and more vulnerable people, have been offered at least one dose of the vaccine, The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced.
Vaccination will then proceed down age groups, with those aged 30-39 next in line, followed by everyone aged 18-29 and under.
However, there are still concerns about groups of people not taking their offers to be vaccinated.
Professor Wei Shen Lin, COVID-19 chair for JCVI explained, “We are certainly concerned about groups of people who are not taking up the offer of vaccination because vaccination is the way to be protected against severe COVID.
“So the JCVI has looked at the information on vaccination uptake and coverage, and we are in regular contact with the Department of Health as well as NHS England to ask them to keep close attention to these groups and do everything possible to increase uptake.”
At least one million face masks used by the NHS had to be withdrawn this week following an announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care.
*All data is correct at the time of writing and is subject to change as figures are updated.