Workplace transmission keeping Telford infection rates 'stubbornly high'

Infection rates have "stubbornly refused to drop" in Telford & Wrekin, according to a public health director who says transmission in the workplace is a problem.

There has been a two per cent drop, while the regional and national average continues to fall more quickly.

Latest data shows that last week there were 334 new coronavirus cases in the borough.

Eight out of every 10 new infections are in the working-age population in Telford and Wrekin.

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Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin’s director for public health, says workplace transmission is keeping local figures stubbornly high.

It comes as latest NHS England figures show the number of coronavirus patients being cared for at Shropshire's major hospitals has almost halved in the past month.

There were 84 Covid-19 patients in beds at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford on Tuesday, compared to the peak of 165 on January 29.

Local health leaders are calling on people in workplaces to get tested regularly and sending a reminder that employees must self-isolate when required.

Ms Noakes said: “Looking at local cases, we can see that transmission in the workplace is a reason why our infection rate is not falling as quickly when compared to other areas.

“It’s vital that people who cannot work from home get a rapid test every at least twice a week.

“We have several rapid test centres across the borough where you can get results in 30 minutes. A rapid test can provide peace of mind to let you know your family is safe.

“It is especially important the people who test positive or are close contacts self isolate for 10 days – which is a legal requirement.

“Another way that working-age people can avoid spreading the virus is to avoiding car-sharing where possible.

"Following hands-face-space when you’re at work or on a break remains the best way to prevent the spread in the workplace as well.”

Infection rates are also declining in Shropshire, however they remain above the national average.

There were 428 new cases reported in the week to February 18 – a 13 per cent decrease compared to the previous week.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, says there is still a high number of outbreaks in both care homes and work-based settings.

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