Covid cases more than doubled between Christmas and New Year, says Shropshire Council

Covid-19 cases in the area covered by Shropshire Council more than doubled between Christmas and New Year's Day, with hundreds of new cases linked to people in the same households.

The council revealed that 770 new cases were reported between December 25 and 31, an increase of 443 cases compared to the previous week.

The seven-day infection rate for the Shropshire Council area was 238.3 cases per 100,000 people – lower than the West Midlands average (420.1) and England (517.2).

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Of the Shropshire cases, 269 relate to people under the age of 30 while 103 relate to those over the age of 70.

During the last week 32 per cent of cases were in the Shrewsbury & Atcham area, 43 per cent were in north Shropshire and 25 per cent were in south Shropshire.

Rising case rates in Shropshire. Data: coronavirus.data.gov.uk

A statement from the council said: "During the last week we have also seen a sharp rise in household transmissions – with 50 per cent of new cases being linked to people in the same household.

"Our local hospitals are also coming under increasing pressure – so we are pleading with people to stay home as much as possible and limit their contact with people outside their household and support bubbles.

"Every social interaction is the opportunity for the virus to infect and spread. The new lockdown restrictions for Shropshire will mean everyone must Stay at Home and may leave only for a limited set of reasons.

"These include: shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person; go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home; exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person (this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area); meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one; seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse); or attend education or childcare – for those eligible.

"If you have any of the following symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you should book a test and not leave home for at least 10 days. If you have symptoms, book a test by calling 119 or at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test."

For local advice and support during the pandemic (especially if you are self-isolating or shielding), call Shropshire Council’s Covid-19 Helpline on 0345 678 9028 (lines open on the weekend on Saturday from 9am-4pm and Sunday 9am-12pm) or visit shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

'Alarming'

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said: “The rates of transmission in Shropshire are at a very high level and are increasing.

“It’s particular alarming, especially when you consider that 50 per cent of new cases are linked to household transmissions. This is a significant increase from the numbers we were seeing just two weeks ago when we moved to Tier 3, and we expect to see a further sharp increase in reported cases in the coming days.

"We must reduce the extra burden we’re placing on our local health services. Everyone needs to play their part and follow the rules which are there for both our own and others' protection and safety.

“Around one in three people with Covid-19 show no symptoms, so we should all act as if we have the virus. There are no shortcuts to protecting yourself and others. It means staying at home, and limit any contact you have with people outside your household and support bubbles.

“I know ‘Covid-fatigue’ is setting in for some people, but everyone should be worried about the rapid rise in cases and the pressure it is putting on our local NHS.

“Our Covid-19 test sites have good availability and any residents who are experiencing symptoms, no matter how mild, should book a test as soon as possible.

“Rapid Covid testing is also available to our frontline workers who don’t have Covid symptoms. These tests can be booked using shropshire.gov.uk/lfdpublictesting."

Dr Julian Povey, Joint Chair of Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The significant increase in cases we are seeing across the county and the emergence of a new variant of the virus shows that we cannot let our guard down, and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow all the same guidance as everyone else to help protect others.

“It’s vital that the public plays their part in stopping the spread of Covid-19 by staying at home as much as possible, social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands. Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you and when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments.

“For anyone in need of medical help, the NHS is still here for you. If you need help urgently, contact 111 first, and if they ask you to attend a service please do so. In a medical emergency, like a stroke or suspected heart attack, it’s still important that you call 999.”

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