By Leah Conway & Tatiana Zaituni –
The Covid-19 infection rate continues to rise in Kirklees, as residents are being urged to take advantage of increased testing and vaccine availability.
Hospitalisations and deaths caused by the virus currently remain low.
Cases of the new Covid-19 variant, first detected in India, have been identified in Kirklees and infection rates are rising.
Following the Government’s announcement last week that Kirklees will start surge testing, resources are being focused on four key areas where rates are the highest.
Cases, Hospitalisations and Vaccinations
108 people per 100,000 in Kirklees tested positive for Covid-19 over the last seven days, and the borough’s infection rate has increased by 50 per cent since last week.
The national average is 23 people per 100,000.
Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, deaths and hospitalisations have been steadily falling and are remaining at a much lower level.
There was one death in local hospitals related to Covid-19, up from zero last week. There were 13 people admitted to those hospitals in that time, up from nine last week.
Positive levels of vaccine uptake in Kirklees means that 237,000 local people have had their first dose and 153,000 of those have received their second.
Remember you can receive free lateral flow at-home tests. To find out how to get yours click here.
Stepping Up Testing
Speaking on the data, Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council, said: “We’ve stepped up testing in key parts of Kirklees this week. We’re doing that to identify and isolate positive cases and to learn more about variants that might be spreading.
“We are also working with the NHS to increase the speed of vaccinations as well as making sure everyone can get one when it’s their turn.
“Kirklees has had cases of the new variant first detected in India. Although it does not cause more serious illness, it does spread easier so it’s really important that we learn more about where it might be within our communities so we can better stop it.
“By taking these PCR tests, you’ll be helping the whole of Kirklees to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.
“We all need to continue to play our part so we can get Kirklees through the roadmap safely.”
Residents are encouraged to get a PCR test as part of the increased testing across the borough to help detect and isolate positive cases.
Rachel added: “Every vaccination matters. The more people that take it, the safer we all are and the sooner we can get back to normality.
“You’ll be contacted when it’s your turn and anyone aged 30 and over in Kirklees can book their vaccination now.
“It’s really important, that even when you have received your vaccine, that you continue to do the basics: hands, face, space as well as letting plenty of fresh air indoors.
“Getting a twice-weekly lateral flow test is a really effective way we can all prevent the spread of the virus. This is really important even if you have been vaccinated.
“Thank you all for playing your part.”
In the last seven days, there have been 19,412 confirmed positive cases nationwide, a further increase from last week’s cases.
At the same time, there have been 57 COVID-19 related deaths within 28 days of a positive test, which up by seven compared to last week.
So far, 38,614,683 people have had their first dose, with 24,043,956 people receiving their second dose.
This Week’s COVID-19 News in Brief
Surge testing in schools
Pupils at four schools in Kirklees are being offered tests for Covid-19 in the midst of increasing infection rates and instances of the Indian variant.
Children aged over 11 at the schools in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Liversedge as well as anyone they live with will be asked to take a test, Kirklees Council said
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “Testing is a really important way of reducing infection rates. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen rates of infection increasing in younger age groups.”
She added: “In particular, these four schools have reported higher levels of Covid-19 cases so we want to offer all pupils, staff and their households PCR testing which will give us more insight into what’s driving the increase and prevent further spread.
“We’ll continue to monitor the data and may introduce surge testing to other schools if necessary.”
Vaccination Centre at Biscuit Factory
Kirklees Council and the NHS are setting up a COVID-19 vaccination centre at Fox’s Biscuits Factory, in Batley, to offer all staff the chance to get their first or second portion of the vaccine today – 28 May.
It has been shown that the individuals who work in shift find it hard to book a vaccination appointment, and the pop-up vaccination centre is the beginning of the council and the NHS’ focus on working with local organisations to help make getting the vaccine as accessible as possible.