Coronavirus cases in Shropshire and Telford 'going wrong way' says health boss

The number of coronavirus cases in the region is "going in the wrong direction," according to a public health official.

A new coronavirus test centre has been set up in Telford
A new coronavirus test centre has been set up in Telford

The warning from Liz Noakes, Telford & Wrekin Council's director of public health, comes as cases have significantly risen across the county.

Telford & Wrekin saw 39 cases in the week up to September 21, compared to 24 in the previous week. It also means the rate of new cases per 100,000 people moves up to 22.

The figures mean the cases are at their highest level in the borough since testing began in May, although the infection rate remains one of the lowest in the West Midlands.

Shropshire has also seen a significant hike in case numbers, with 73 positive tests in the seven days to September 21 compared to 39 the week before.

That moves the cases per 100,000 people to 23.

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The rate for the whole of England for that week was 41.2, while elsewhere in the region in Birmingham it was 122.2, Sandwell 94.7 and Wolverhampton 66.4. All three boroughs have had extra local restrictions imposed.

In Powys there were 12 cases in the week to September 21, down six from the 18 in the previous week.

A new testing centre has been set up in Telford today to boost capacity as the virus spreads to more people.

Mrs Noakes said: “The number of confirmed cases we have had in the past week is the highest we have had since community testing began at the end of May – our numbers are going in the wrong direction."

She added: "It is likely that these numbers are an underestimate, some results for testing are taking longer to come back due to limited lab testing capacity.

“There is no room for complacency, but if we all play our part then we can get these numbers down.

"Thank you to all our residents who have practised hands, face, space, the rule of six, and followed the guidance on when to get tested and when to self-isolate.

“Please also ensure when you are wearing a face covering that you remember to continue to wash your hands and give people space.

Andy Burford, Telford & Wrekin's cabinet member for health and social care, said vigilance is needed to avoid the type of strict local lockdowns seen in the West Midlands.

He said: “At the other end of the M54 we have an area where additional restrictions have been put in place to control the virus.

“Here in Telford and Wrekin no additional restrictions have been imposed and people not part of our household bubble are able to visit each other so long as the rule of six is observed – let’s keep it that way.

“Thank you to everyone who has been following the rules, you are protecting peoples jobs, your loved ones, and the more vulnerable members of our society."

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire’s Director of Public Health said: "We are at a point where we need everyone across Shropshire to step up and help cut the rate of infections.

"Shropshire is following the national trend when it comes to the rise in cases and that means we all need to follow the guidelines when it comes to social distancing and limiting contact with people outside our household, not meeting in groups larger than six people outdoors, washing our hands and wearing face coverings.

“We are stepping up our efforts across the county as we look to tackle the spread of the virus. As well as responding to local outbreaks and supporting our schools, we have recently asked care homes to suspend all but essential visits.

"The council is also working closely with local businesses to ensure that they are following Government guidance to keep customers and workers safe as well as increasing communications to residents. But we cannot do this without everyone’s help.”

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