Warning over rise in Covid outbreaks at Shropshire schools

Calls have been made not to return to pre-pandemic behaviours with health bosses warning of a rise in Covid outbreaks at schools.

Infection rates in Shropshire are much higher than the national and regional average, with cases rife among under 20s.

There were 1,596 new cases reported  in Shropshire in the week to September 30 – an increase of seven per cent on the previous week.

Last week, 863 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Telford and Wrekin, 73 fewer compared to the previous seven days.

However, where the infection rate stood at about 330 per 100,000 people in England, it was 490.5 per 100,000 in Shropshire and 476 per 100,000 in Telford.

It comes as health chiefs say the county's acute hospitals are currently caring for an average of between 25 and 30 coronavirus patients, with one to four patients in critical care.

Shropshire Council’s public health director, Rachel Robinson, said: “Cases are still climbing, particularly among the under-20s, and we are dealing with increasing numbers of outbreaks in schools.

“We want to keep children and staff in education safely, so if students, parents or carers have any symptoms of Covid-19, even if it’s only mild, please get a PCR test to be sure.

"We also encourage pupils over the age of 11 to use a lateral flow test twice a week if they do not have any symptoms.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to help bring down the infection rates, so I am asking everyone not to return to their pre-pandemic behaviours."

As of Sunday, Telford and Wrekin was ranked 12th highest nationally for infection rates.

Helen Onions, Telford and Wrekin's acting statutory director for public health, said: "Covid-19 infection remains high in our borough, and in a similar pattern seen across the country the rates are highest in the under 20s.

"There are simple things all of us can do to reduce the spread in Telford and Wrekin.

"Remember hands–face-space and fresh air, check for Covid regularly with rapid tests at home if you are feeling well and get a PCR test immediately should you have symptoms, however mild."

Councillor Andy Burford, Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet member for health and social care, also called on those who have yet to have a Covid jab to come forward.

"With local Covid-19 cases continuing to be high, it's even more important to make sure you have your vaccinations," he said.

"Over 127,000 people – aged 16 plus – in our borough have already received their first dose.

"The vaccine significantly reduces your chance of becoming severely ill with coronavirus."

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