COVID-19 infection rates in Kirklees have dropped once more this week, however, the council’s director of public health warns that as we head into the festive period, we risk them rising quickly again if we don’t remain vigilant.
The latest data shows that in the last seven days 165 per 100,000 people in Kirklees tested positive for COVID-19, compared to the previous week when it was 184 per 100,000 people.
This means that for the first time since May, Kirklees’ COVID-19 rates are below the national average with the borough now having the 83rd highest rates of infection in the country.
Cases and Deaths
There were, however, still 729 new positive COVID-19 cases in the borough over the last seven days.
Sadly, there were 16 COVID-19-related Kirklees deaths in the last week, with a further 63 Kirklees residents admitted to local hospitals with COVID related illness in the same period of time.
The latest information also shows that 142 Kirklees schools (112 primary, 20 secondary, three all-through/middle, five all-through special, two Pupil Referral Unit schools) currently have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
There are a total of 5,095 pupils in Kirklees that are either suspected/confirmed COVID-19 cases or are self-isolating and are not in school as a result. 145 are confirmed positive cases.
Alongside the rest of West Yorkshire, Kirklees remains under Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions.
On Thursday (December 17) the government announced that large parts of South and West Yorkshire would remain in Tier 3, with the next review scheduled for December 30.
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.
Today (Friday 18 December 2020), Kirklees Council launched a new community testing service, which is open to people without symptoms who live or work in Kirklees.
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.
However, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should book a test by calling 119 or going to: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
‘To the Credit of All Local People’
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said: “The improvement we’ve seen in our infection rates in Kirklees over recent weeks is really encouraging and it’s to the credit of all local people who have dug in and done everything possible to keep each other safe.
“Our rates are currently below the national average, which is something we’ve not been able to say since May. This gives us an indication that we’re heading in the right direction, but we can’t let it fool us into thinking we’re out of the woods.
“The most important data is that there were 714 new positive cases in Kirklees in the last week, there were 16 COVID-19 related deaths and 68 were admitted to hospital. I can’t stress enough how serious the situation still is and we know how quickly infection rates can rise if we’re not careful.
Speaking about the new community testing centres, Ms Spencer-Henshall added that it will help the council identify more asymptomatic cases in order to reduce situations where people may otherwise unknowingly pass on the virus.
She added: “It’s great news that the vaccine has started to be rolled out across the country, but this is going to take a long time.
“Please continue to play your part and do those essential things: social distancing, wearing a face covering, regular hand washing and getting a test if you have symptoms.”
Christmas Restrictions Easing
Ms Spencer-Henshall further reiterated the need for the public to remain vigilant this Christmas period, as restrictions on household mixing are eased between the 23rd and 27th of December.
She said: “Christmas must, unfortunately, be different this year. We all need to weigh up the risks of mixing with each other the festive period.
“The restrictions on household mixing might be easing, but the way the virus spreads remains the same and the risk of infection is still very high.
“This year has been difficult for so many reasons, but the resilience and togetherness everyone in Kirklees has shown has been remarkable.
“We head into the New Year with hope and I can confidently say for the first time that we know this will not be forever – there is an end in sight.”