COVID-19 infections in Kirklees have seen their biggest reduction yet, dropping 39% over the last week.
The latest data shows that in the last seven days 243 per 100,000 people in Kirklees tested positive for COVID-19, compared to last week when it was 401 per 100,000 people.
The sharp drop in infection rates means Kirklees’ figures are no longer in the ten highest local authorities in the country. The borough now has the 21st highest rate of infection.
Despite this positive news, there were still 1,069 new positive COVID-19 cases in the borough over the last seven days, and rates across the borough remain above the national average.
Sadly, there were 20 COVID-19-related Kirklees deaths in the last week. A further 97 Kirklees people have also been admitted to hospital in the last week.
These figures are taken from hospitals in Kirklees, Wakefield and Calderdale.
Kirklees Council has emphasised that infection rates still need to brought down further.
Unfortunately, schools still appear to be struggling with localised outbreaks.
The latest information shows that 160 Kirklees schools (127 primary, 21 secondary, four all-through/middle, five all-through special, three Pupil Referral Unit schools) currently have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
There are now a total of 7,123 pupils in Kirklees that are either suspected/confirmed COVID-19 cases or are self-isolating and are not in school as a result. 235 are confirmed positive cases.
Alongside the rest of West Yorkshire, Kirklees is currently under Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions. This will next be reviewed on 16 December.
Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants must remain closed, with the exception of takeaway sales.
Tier 3 prevents people from mixing and socialising indoors where the risk of spreading the virus is at its highest.
You can meet each other, in groups of up to six people, in some outdoor places such as parks and public gardens.
Shops, gyms, hairdressers and personal care services are open again, but if you are able to work from home, you should continue to do so.
Speaking about the drop, Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said: “We have seen significant progress over the last three weeks, with our rates of COVID-19 infection across the borough falling.
Over the last week, we have seen a particularly promising drop, which means we are no longer amongst the ten areas with the highest rates.
“It’s thanks to the efforts of residents and the sacrifices you are making to keep each other safe, but we cannot become complacent.
This drop only means our rates are now back to where they were at the beginning of October, but they are still significantly higher than they were over the summer months.
We’re heading in the right direction but we need to see them come down further and continue to be vigilant in following all guidance, particularly with the reopening of non-essential shops this week.”
‘Thank you for everything you are doing’
Ms Spencer-Henshall added that while news of a vaccine being approved is positive news, the hard work needed to keep infections down is far from over.
“Rolling the vaccine out will be a huge operation and will take time so we must continue to do everything we are doing to keep each other safe for the time being.” She added.
“We all have a part to play. This week we launched a local Test and Trace service, which will work to make sure anyone who has come into close contact with someone who has tested positive is self-isolating to prevent further spread of the virus. We’re also working with the government to increase our testing capacity.
“What we need residents to do is follow the Tier 3 restrictions as well as continuing to do the basics such as regular hand-washing, social distancing, wearing a face covering and self-isolating and getting tested if you have symptoms.
“We’re heading in the right direction and if we all continue to play our part in the way we are, we will continue to make progress, save lives and get more of our freedoms back. Thank you for everything you are doing.”