Kirklees Council is facing a desperate Covid infection battle after the latest official figures see it ranking number one out of 149 upper tier local authorities.

The news comes as worried residents prepare for thousands of people to attend a four funfair at Ravensknowle Park, Wakefield Road, Huddersfield, which is set to attract thousands given the good weather that is predicted for this weekend.

The number of confirmed Kirklees cases has hit 33,979 with 304 cases in the last week.

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Weekly rate per 100,000 people is 69.12 and most concerning of all is that cases in weekly rate since previous week have increased by 11.8%.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said: “This is alarming news and at the most recent Outbreak meeting (where MPs from Kirklees meet with the council’s chief executive and leader) I warned that we must not become complacent.

“We must reach out to people who have not been vaccinated. This is a wake-up call. This is not good news.

“The Outbreak meeting to discuss the Covid situation was postponed last night but I shall be contacting Jacqui Gedman, the chief executive immediately to ask for an emergency meeting to take place tomorrow.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman

“As for this event at Ravensknowle Park I think perhaps the council needs to look at that again in the light of these developements.”

Kirklees councillor Bernard McGuin, (Con, Almondbury), said: “I am slightly surprised because I thought we were doing OK but obviously not.

“I don’t know what the problem is but I have noticed that some pubs are not obeying the rules and people have got rather lax in observing them. I think we have got a bit slack.”

Kirklees Council ‘s strategic director of public health, Rachel Spencer-Henshall, said: “Rates of infection have been reducing in Kirklees over recent months.

“But we can’t ignore our position in the league table and the threat the virus continues to pose.

“We need to bring our infection rate down further, particularly with more restrictions now eased and people more likely to come into contact with different households.

“We’ve seen stubbornly high rates of infection across West Yorkshire for long parts of the pandemic.

“That reflects working patterns, deprivation in our region and the way that the Kent variant spread across the country before Christmas.

“It means that we have to work together even harder to reduce infection rates and understand that there’s no room for complacency.

“Over 270,000 vaccinations have now been administered in Kirklees and the programme is successfully bringing down the number of people needing hospital treatment.

“Thankfully, the number of people dying as a result of COVID is now at a very low rate. But we need to face the fact that we haven’t beaten the virus yet.

“Everyone can play their part in bringing rates down even further by following the public health advice to keep social distancing, wear a mask and meet outdoors wherever possible and only in small groups.

“I’m also urging everyone over the age of 42 in Kirklees to book their vaccination today. It’s the most effective way you can reduce infections and keep them down for the long term.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Kirklees Council's Strategic Director, Corporate Strategy and Public Health
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Kirklees Council’s Strategic Director, Corporate Strategy and Public Health
(Image: Kirklees Council)

“There’s a lot of great work happening in Kirklees to tackle infections.

“We were one of the first councils to offer testing to people without symptoms and, right now, we have staff out in the community engaging with people and businesses to stay safe.

“Pop-up vaccination centres, mobile testing points and targeted communications are also helping us to focus our work in communities which have been most affected.

“Our community champions are also out in communities encouraging the highest possible take-up of the vaccine and reducing any gaps that emerge.

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“But we know we have to work even harder than most to bring rates down and that’s exactly what we will be doing over the coming weeks.

“It’s great that we can all now start to do some of the things we’ve all missed in recent months with a number of restrictions now being lifted but we all have to remember that the virus is still spreading.

“Please remember to stay cautious and keep each other safe so we can bring our infection rate down further and get Kirklees through the national roadmap out of lockdown and back to normality.”

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