Fresh Covid fears after more deaths and increase in hospital patients

Public health officials have issued fresh warnings over Covid cases in the county after eight deaths in the space of a week.

People are being urged to wear masks to help slow the spread of Covid: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
People are being urged to wear masks to help slow the spread of Covid: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin's directors of public health have raised concerns after the increase in the number of people dying from the virus, and the steady climb in case numbers in recent weeks.

In the seven days up to August 26 there were eight Covid deaths at county hospitals.

It comes as the case rate for Shropshire was 347.2 cases per 100,000, and 372 in Telford & Wrekin – higher than the West Midlands average of 325.5, and the English average of 313.2.

Schools have also seen pupils return this week, with expectations it will also lead to an increase in cases.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said there was growing evidence to show that cases are now spreading beyond younger groups, into older and more vulnerable people.

She has reiterated advice on wearing face coverings and social distancing, while also urging people who are not yet vaccinated to get the jab.

She said: “While we’ve seen a very small decline in Covid-19 cases in the seven days period up to August 26, Shropshire still has one of the highest rates in the West Midlands.

“We have seen cases across the county continually increase over the past several weeks – and not only that, we have seen increasing evidence of the spread of the virus beyond people in their 20s, to older and potentially more vulnerable age groups.

“The virus is highly transmissible, currently widespread within our communities, and we must take it seriously.

“There has also been an increase in Covid-19 patients in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals (SaTH), and I’m sad to report that there have been eight further deaths in our local hospitals during this time.

“By now we all know the things we can do to stop the rapid spread of the virus and, with the situation still as it is at the moment in the county, we all need to play our part. We know Shropshire residents have remained resilient and have stepped up to help stop the spread of the virus, but I strongly urge people to continue to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces, and social distance where possible to protect yourselves and others.

“The best protection is still two doses of a vaccine. It significantly reduces your chances of becoming seriously ill if you get Covid-19. All adults aged 16 and over are now eligible.”

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for public health, added: “As we know coronavirus is going to be with us for some time, and our priority is to stop the spread of infection and protect the health and wellbeing of all residents in our community, in particular our most vulnerable.

“I would like to offer my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones. I urge all of you to please continue to remain vigilant. The Government’s preventative measures, coupled with the continued efforts of Shropshire residents, will hopefully stop the situation from escalating further and protect our most vulnerable residents.”

It comes as Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin's Director for Public Health, said numbers are likely to increase further.

She said: "Infection rates are high and continue to rise, with schools returning this week, we expect this rise to continue."

She added: "Testing remains essential, so continue to check for Covid regularly with rapid tests at home and that you get a PCR test immediately if you have symptoms, however mild.

"Hands-face-space and fresh air remain helpful to prevent spread and avoiding others getting seriously ill.

"We still need to prevent the spread of the virus, so you must self-isolate if NHS test and trace asks you to do so.

"Living with Covid does not mean carrying on as if the virus doesn’t exist – by doing these things, we can live more comfortably with the virus and keep Telford and Wrekin open and moving."

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