Kirklees’ health chief says the borough’s Covid-19 infection rate is now higher than the national average.

And the majority of new cases are of the Kent variant, which has shown to be spread more easily.

In the last week Kirklees saw 764 new confirmed positive cases – a reduction from the previous week when it was 888 – but data shows infection rates are dropping at a slower pace than in most parts of England.

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More than 90 per cent of these cases were of the Kent variant.

  • 84 Kirklees people were admitted to local hospitals with Covid-19 over the last week – down from 102 the previous week.
  • 150 patients from Kirklees are in local hospitals with Covid-19 – down from 188. However the figure remains high.
  • There were 23 Covid-related deaths in the last week – up from 22 the previous week.

Covid-19 infection rates have decreased by 14 per cent in Kirklees over the last week but are now higher than the national average, with most parts of the country seeing a faster drop.

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.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said the impact of lockdown restrictions across the country were evident as infection rates are 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.

“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.”

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Kirklees Council's Strategic Director, Corporate Strategy and Public Health

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Kirklees director of public health
(Image: Kirklees Council)

Kirklees has a large number of critical workers due to the types of industries operating in the borough, and the council is working hard with local businesses and organisations to prevent outbreaks.

Ms Spencer-Henshall reiterated the need to drive down infection rates in order to save lives and ease pressure on health services.

She encouraged residents to continue following coronavirus guidance: to stay at home, only leave home for essential reasons and not to mix with other households.

Basic measures such as hand-washing, social-distancing, wearing a face covering and getting tested if symptoms are evident – are still a key way to reduce infections.

She added: “The vaccine rollout is continuing to be a success and the uptake is fantastic.

“You will be contacted when it’s your turn to receive the vaccine, but please be patient as the most at risk are prioritised.

“The vaccine gives us hope as we move forward, but in the meantime please continue to do all you can to prevent the spread of the virus.”

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The NHS Coronavirus vaccination programme is taking place in Kirklees for people who are most at risk.

At the moment, it is being given to:

  • 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.

Anyone in those groups who hasn’t been contacted can now book an appointment online or Freephone 119 between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

Critical workers without symptoms can get tested weekly at one of four centres across Kirklees. You can view the Government’s website for a list of critical workers.

Visit Kirklees Council’s website for more information, and to find your local community testing centre.

Anyone in Kirklees who has Covid-19 symptoms still needs to arrange a test by calling 119 or going to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

If you’re vulnerable and need support, please visit Kirklees Council’s website or call 0800 4561114.

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