The Covid-19 infection rates in Kirklees continue to head in the right direction, having decreased by 14 per cent over the last week.
However, the rates are now higher than the national average, with most parts of the country seeing their infection rates drop at a faster rate.
Cases and Hospitalisations
With 173 per 100,000 people in Kirklees testing positive for COVID-19 over the last seven days, the borough’s rates have now moved above the national average of 137 per 100,000.
Last week Kirklees’ infection rate was 201 per 100,000 people.
There were 764 new confirmed positive cases in the last week in Kirklees – this is lower than last week when it was 888.
More than 90 per cent of these cases were of the Kent variant, which has shown to be spread more easily.
There were 84 Kirklees people admitted to local hospitals with COVID-19 over the last week, which has dropped from 102 last week.
There are currently 150 patients from Kirklees in local hospitals with COVID-19 which is lower than last week when it was 188.
There were sadly 23 COVID-19 related deaths in the last week – which has increased from 22 the previous week.
Vaccinations in Kirklees
At the moment the vaccination programme in Kirklees is delivering vaccinations to the four most at-risk groups. This includes:
- people aged 65 and over
- people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- people who live or work in care homes
- frontline health and social care workers
If you are in any of the above groups and have not been contacted for your vaccine yet, you can now book an appointment online or phone 119
Kirklees Community Testing
Community testing continues throughout the borough.
All critical workers are being encouraged to take weekly tests even if they do not have symptoms.
There are currently four community testing centres across Kirklees.
‘Need to See Infections Drop’
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said: “We can see across the country the impact lockdown restrictions are having, with infection rates falling. Unfortunately, our rates are not dropping as quickly as they need to. It means we’ve now moved above the national average for the first time since December.
“We do have a large number of critical workers in Kirklees, due to the types of industries we have operating in the borough, and we’re working hard with local businesses and organisations to prevent outbreaks.
“The Kent variant now accounts for the majority of our new cases. The fact this variant is more easily spread, further supports the need for everyone to continue to be vigilant and to do everything possible to stay safe.
“We need to see infection rates drop so we can save lives and ease pressure on health services. By following all the guidance in place, you can help to do this.
“The best thing you can do to protect your family and community is to stay at home.
“Only leave your home for essential reasons and for exercise and don’t mix with other households.
“Thank you once again for playing your part during these difficult times.”
In the last 7 days, there have been 84,589 confirmed positive cases nationwide. In the previous 7 days, there have been 3,858 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
As of this week, a total of 16,423,082 people have accepted their vaccination. Those who have accepted the second dose totals 573,724
This week brings us to the end of our seventh week in Lockdown. National lockdown means you should stay at home unless otherwise stated. For full information, visit the government website of COVID-19 guidelines.
This week’s COVID-19 News in Brief
Kirklees Council has now released its vaccine programme posters in 12 languages used throughout the Kirklees community.
The posters are now translated into Albanian, Arabic, Farsi, Gujarati, Hungarian, Kurdish, Mandarin, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Spanish and Urdu.
‘Data, Not Dates’
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has commented that it is essential to have a ‘data, not dates’ outlook on covid-19 and the continuing lockdown.
New COVID Trials
A new COVID-19 trial using human volunteers is set to begin in the UK. Volunteers will spend their time in a single hospital room alone. They will only come into contact with people running the trial. On the third day of the trial, a group of around 90 volunteers will be infected with the live virus.
They will be monitored for 2 weeks. After the two weeks, volunteers will be sent home if they are free of the virus and will be monitored for the following year.
This type of trial is known as a ‘challenge trial’ and will be the first ‘challenge trial’ in the world to take place for covid.
Scientists have said that the risk is low but it is not completely risk-free, which is why the group of volunteers is focusing on healthy, young people from 18 to 30s years with no existing health problems.
Volunteers won’t be paid but will be compensated about £4500 over the year trial period.
In other trial news, another study with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has commenced.
The trial will test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine on children from 6 to 17 years-old. There are around 300 volunteers taking part in the study.
A mix of children receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and a control meningitis vaccine.
1.7 million more people are expected to be added to the shielding list. The change is in response to a new model for evaluating people’s risk. For more information, you can check the NHS website here.
Surge testing has increased in parts of the south of England and parts of Manchester in response to the South African variant of Covid-19. Surge testing is the availability of additional community testing of those that are asymptomatic. It encourages people to get tested whether they have symptoms or not.
Globally, South Africa has begun the roll-out of vaccinations. South Africa’s President, Health Minister, and other healthcare workers were also vaccinated with the first batch of 80,000 vaccines.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is set to pledge surplus vaccines to poorer countries at a G7 meeting held on Friday 19 February.
This follows the UN’s reveal that more than 130 countries don’t have a single Covid-19 vaccine, while just 10 countries have administered 75% of the world’s available vaccinations.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, “At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community.”