Health officials tackling more than 70 Covid outbreaks

Health officials are dealing with more than 70 Covid outbreaks across the county, with schools the main source of incidents.

File photo dated 19/02/21 of a Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine being prepared. All 16 and 17-year-olds in England will be offered their first Covid jab by August 23, under a new target set by the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who has said offering young people the vaccine by this date will allow those teenagers in that age bracket the two weeks necessary to build maximum immunity before returning to school in September. Issue date: Sunday August 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Vaccines. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
File photo dated 19/02/21 of a Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine being prepared. All 16 and 17-year-olds in England will be offered their first Covid jab by August 23, under a new target set by the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who has said offering young people the vaccine by this date will allow those teenagers in that age bracket the two weeks necessary to build maximum immunity before returning to school in September. Issue date: Sunday August 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Vaccines. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council's Director of Public Health said that there had been 32 outbreaks declared in the space of a week – with another seven deaths in county hospitals.

It comes as Telford & Wrekin currently has the highest rate of infection in the entire Midlands – with a councillor revealing that nearly 30,000 of the borough's residents have not yet received a single dose of the vaccine.

The rate of cases per 100,000 people in Telford stands at 412, while in Shropshire it is 351. The West Midlands average is 345.

As of September 14 the number of people being treated for Covid in county hospitals was also 40.

Cllr Andy Burford, Telford & Wrekin's Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “It’s really worrying that in the last two weeks our borough has been recording the highest Covid-19 infection rate in West Midlands.

"We are seeing in particular younger, working age people getting the virus, many of those haven’t been vaccinated.

“We cannot stress enough the importance for everyone eligible to get their vaccinations without delay.

"There are still around 29,600 people in our borough who are eligible for vaccines now and who haven't received their first dose."

Mrs Robinson said the increase in outbreaks was expected after the summer, but that testing remains key to stop incidents getting out of control.

She said: "As predicted, with schools returning and offices getting busier after the summer break, the number of positive cases is on the rise again. The health protection team is currently managing 70 Covid-19 outbreaks, mainly across schools, with 32 new outbreaks declared in the last week.

"Testing rates are high across Shropshire, meaning we can monitor the spread of the virus and manage it appropriately. We will continue to work closely with schools, businesses and public venues to ensure they are well supported.

"This week the government announced its recommendation for 12 to 15-year-olds to receive one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. This will help prevent disruption to education, however, it is not compulsory. Young people and their parents should be supported in making this decision and in whatever choice they make.

"Sadly, we have seen a further seven deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals and a high number of hospitalisations. We are continuing to encourage people to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of serious illness. There is still plenty of opportunity to get the jab, first and second doses, at walk-in clinics around the county."

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