Shropshire public urged to remain vigilant against coronavirus amid rise in cases
As public health officials deal with outbreaks of coronavirus cases in Shropshire and across the border in Mid Wales, people are being warned not to slack off in the fight against Covid-19.
The focus in Shropshire in recent days has fallen on Craven Arms where 23 people have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Long Lane Traveller site.
The outbreak is linked to one in Welshpool at the Leighton Arches traveller site.
Powys has seen a significant rise in cases over the past week or so, with 15 positive tests in the most recent seven days – compared to 10 in the week before.
The figures mean the county has a rate of 15.9 cases per 100,000 of the population, well above either Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin.
The most recent seven day average for Shropshire – taken on July 24 – shows a rate of 2.1, with 16 cases. However, July 23 saw ten positive tests recorded, the highest daily figure since June 16.
So far a total of 1,428 people have tested positive in the county since the outbreak began.
In Telford & Wrekin the most recent seven-day average is 0.6, with seven positive tests in the week leading up to July 24. There have been 626 positive test in the borough overall.
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Questions are also being asked over an outbreak in Wrexham linked to the Maelor Hospital, with Llyr Gruffyd, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for North Wales saying he was asking for clarification on the spread of cases to community hospitals, including Chirk.
There have been 20 cases reported in the area in the last 48 hours, with 53 in the past week at a rate of 39.
The increase has been linked to an outbreak at the Rowan Foods Factory, although there are suggestions that many of those who have tested positive were infected at the Maelor hospital.
Wales' chief medical officer Frank Atherton said they believed the community transmission was related to both the hospital and the factory.
He said: "We think that the community transmission is related to those two things: The hospital and the meat packing place."
The situation has seen two mobile testing sites set up.
Dr Arne Rose, the medical director at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust, warned people not to let up in the battle to keep covid at bay.
It comes as neither of the trust's hospitals, Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital Telford, have had any coronavirus patients for the "past few days".
In total 169 people have died from the virus at the trust since the outbreak began, with another 15 at Shropshire Community Health Trust and five at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital near Oswestry.
Dr Rose said: "Over the past few days, we have been in the fortunate position of having no patients in our hospitals. However, you only need to look at the outbreak in Craven Arms to understand that we must not become complacent.
"Indeed, you could argue that this is a particularly risky time, as people perceive that coronavirus has gone away. It has not, and we must all continue to take the necessary precautions."
Stuart Bourne, Powys Teaching Health Board's Director of Public Health, said it was vital that people who have been in contact with those who have tested positive self isolate.
He said: "All of us play a role in helping to reduce the spread.
"If you know that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive you should self-isolate for up to 14 days.
"It is really important to do this even if you don't have symptoms. If you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14 days.
"Members of your family are not required to self-isolate, but they should follow the general social distancing guidance and avoid contact with you whilst you are isolating at home."