Categories
General

Why Wrexham has emerged again as a hotspot for Covid-19 infections – North Wales Live

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/wrexham-emerged-again-hotspot-covid-19574873

Health chiefs have raised concerns this week over the levels of coronavirus in North Wales – particularly in the east.

By the middle of this week, Wrexham’s infection rate was 838 per 100,000, for the seven days leading to New Year’s Day, second only to Bridgend in Wales, at 978.6, with Flintshire’s standing at 598.

In contrast Anglesey stood at 127, although there have been concerns expressed over a rise there, while Gwynedd’s rate was just 91 – the lowest in Wales.

Last year, Wrexham also saw high coronavirus infection rates, with reasons cited included denser population concentrations, areas with high poverty and a large industrial estate, where workers were having to present.

Wrexham Maelor Hospital

Wrexham Maelor Hospital
(Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

There was an outbreak at Rowan Foods, on Wrexham Industrial Estate, infecting hundreds, mirroring similar outbreaks at food processing plants around the world, showing such facilities susceptibility to spreading the disease.

In addition there have been outbreaks at the Maelor Hospital which saw scores of staff and patients infected as staff battled to contain the spread of the virus.

Health chiefs have warned the winter period would be tougher, with the cold weather and other seasonal pressures on the NHS.

However they recently pointed to the new more infectious variant establishing itself in Wrexham and the north east in December, last year following South Wales, which saw cases start to soar in these areas.

Evidence shows the virus has been spreading east to west and from south to north, with the mutant variant now accounting for 70% of all coronavirus cases in North Wales – the highest in Wales.

Coronavirus testing starts in Wrexham on Tuesday for three days at Caia Park Health Centre on Prince Charles Road and the Hightown Community Resource Centre, off Bryn Y Cabanau Road, Hightown
Soldiers from the 1st Rifles helping with the test station at Caia Park Health Centre

Soldiers manned a coronavirus testing centre in Wrexham last year following a surge in case
(Image: Daily Post Wales)

But concerns are still being raised people are continuing to mix, spreading the disease further, particularly with the more infectious strain, sparking repeated calls before and after Christmas, to stop doing it and follow the rules.

Issues regarding the border with England have also been cited as a problem.

Earlier this week, Welsh Government health minister Vaughan Gething said: “If people are still mixing and going into each others houses and having social calls indoors, then that will make a big difference to transmission rates staying high and the pressure on our National Health Service.”

Wales chief medical officer, Dr Frank Atherton, was asked if the current measures were enough to curtail the virus spread in the north.

He said: “The picture in North Wales is complicated.

“When the virus resurged in late November, it was predominantly in South Wales and south east Wales in particular. Then it moved into North Wales. So there may be a time lag effect.

He added: “The lockdown measures may were only introduced on December 20. We know from the firebreak and the previous lockdown in March across the UK that those measures are effective, so if people do not come into close contact, they cannot spread the virus.”

North Wales Live also asked Wales chief medical officer, Dr Frank Atherton, why levels were so high in Wrexham.

Dr Atherton said: “It would be partly speculative, but  I would think it is around population density and earlier in the pandemic, we saw an uptick in infections, before we had the variant in Wrexham – and that did lead to a lot of concern around there.

For the latest coronavirus updates in North Wales, sign up to our newsletter here for free

“There are issues around the borders and the border with England and what we saw in the first wave were infections moving east to west and there may be some of that – it does also tend to move from south to north – that is the pattern we are seeing in this second wave. The same as we saw in the first wave.”

Wales NHS chief exective, Dr Andrew Goodall, said: “That is why it is important that we continue to ask the public to work with us and beside us to help protect the NHS, with their choices.

“And by making sure that they comply with the guidance, they are limiting their interactions. It is that improves our effectiveness in respsonse.”

To have your say on this story, use the comments section above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *