Covid-19: Long way to go in Shropshire as variant takes over in Telford

There is a “long way to go” to cut Covid infection rates in the county, according to a senior health official, who has warned 70 per cent of cases are now the more transmissible variant.

Liz Noakes, Telford & Wrekin Council’s director of public health, asked people to follow the ‘stay at home’ message in the coming weeks, as pressure on hospitals is expected to increase.

The latest figures show a decrease of cases in both Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire – but that the decline has been slower than elsewhere in the West Midlands.

The figures show that as of January 17 there were also 121 people in the county’s major hospitals being treated for Covid.

It comes after a major escalation in the number of Covid deaths in the county in recent days and weeks.

Telford & Wrekin Council said that there had been 906 people diagnosed with Covid-19 in the seven days to January 17, meaning that the rate of infection is still 503 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000.

Shropshire Council, which released figures for the seven days up to January 14, said 1,364 positive cases had been reported with a rate of infection standing at 422.1 per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson has appealed to people to stay home and follow the rules after he revealed the new variant may be more deadly than the original strain.

Mrs Noakes said: “The slow decline in cases highlights that we have a long way to go to bring down cases in the borough.

“We face a long and difficult couple of months and we will all need to pull together to support each other and play our part in following lockdown restrictions.

“So far more people in the borough have now died in January than either November or December and sadly deaths continues to increase – this underlines the importance of the stay at home message.

“Our local hospitals are under huge pressure because of this new variant of the virus, estimated to be 70 per cent of all cases – staying home to protect the NHS supports doctors and nurses but also ensures that the NHS is there for us should we need them.

“We anticipate that pressure on hospitals will only get more intense over the next weeks.”

She added: “Everyone needs to act like they have the virus, and that those they meet are carrying it too – one in three people with Covid-19 show no symptoms.”

Andy Burford, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for health and social care, said: “In Telford and Wrekin we remain above the national average and with numbers not falling as quickly as we like it is clear that we all face a difficult few months – it underlines how important it is to roll out the vaccination programme as quickly as possible.

“That programme has been slow in getting under way here in Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire compared to other areas of the country, which is causing a huge amount of concern and worry for our residents.

"Early next week the Telford International Centre will open to give vaccination programme a boost.”

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