Still-rising Covid rates now the 'highest they have been' in Shropshire

Coronavirus infection rates across Shropshire are continuing to rise and remain well above the national and regional average.

The number of positive Covid cases in on the rise in Shropshire
The number of positive Covid cases in on the rise in Shropshire

The latest figures show the Telford and Wrekin borough has an infection rate of 578 cases per 100,000 people after 1,048 new cases were confirmed in the week to November 20, up from 519.5 the week before.

In the same period the Shropshire Council area had a rate of 559.9 after 1,822 new cases, up from 515.3 the week before.

The two boroughs have the highest infection rates in the entire West Midlands region, where the overall average rate is 410.8. Across England the rate is 424.4.

The rate also remains high over the border, where 767 new cases led to an infection rate of 563.7 in the seven days to November 20, up from 509.4 the week before.

Meanwhile Torridge in Devon continues to have the highest rate in the UK, with 708 new cases in the seven days to November 20 – the equivalent of 1,030.3 per 100,000 people.

Gwynedd in Wales - which includes the north west coast of the country - has the third highest rate, up from 693.5 to 848.4, with 1,062 new cases.

With Christmas gatherings looming on the horizon, health chiefs in Shropshire are renewing calls for people to get their vaccines to try to make sure they stand the best chance of being protected.

Public health officials in Shropshire are encouraging people to get tested as much as possible in a bid to reduce the number of new infections.

On Wednesday there were 39 patients with Covid-19 in local hospitals.

Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin's director for public health, said: “Cases are rising again rapidly across Telford and Wrekin, with our borough being ranked the highest in infection rates in West Midlands.

“Most people catch Covid-19 from those they spend most time with - a family member, friend or workmate - and can pass it on without even knowing.

“With winter and festive season approaching, it’s ever so important that you take a rapid test in particular before visiting people who are at higher risk of illness if they were infected with Covid.

“Testing before meeting others more vulnerable will give you peace of mind that you’re not spreading the virus and that you can take action in time, if you test positive.

“Get tested also if you’re going to a venue or an event that is likely to be crowded – it re-assures you that you are not infectious and able to spread the virus.

“Wearing a face covering in busy places and refreshing air at home when visitors are around are also simple things everyone can do to help bring the infection down."

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, added: “With the festive season approaching, it is really important that we take the necessary measures to protect ourselves so we can all enjoy Christmas.

"Covid-19 rates are the highest they have been in our communities, cases are still rising and, sadly, there were a further 12 deaths in our local hospitals between November 12-18."

This weekend gives people the chance to get vaccinated while they are doing the Christmas shopping.

A vaccination clinic is being held at Southwater in Telford on Saturday between 11am and 3pm and in the Darwin Centre in Shrewsbury between 1pm and 5pm.

Ms Robinson said: “You don’t even need a book an appointment – it couldn’t be easier. Twelve to 15-year-olds can also get the first dose of the vaccination if they are accompanied by a parent or carer.

"The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital in Gobowen is also open for walk-ins."

She urged people out and about shopping or attending events to wear a face covering, especially if they are inside.

“Regularly sanitising your hands and social distancing where you can will also help to minimise the spread of the virus,” she said.

Councillor Andy Burford, the cabinet member for health and social care in Telford, added: "I strongly urge everyone to get the Covid vaccinations they are eligible for without delay – to protect themselves, their loved ones and more vulnerable people in our community this winter, also during the countdown to Christmas.

“To make it easier to get your vaccinations done, walk-in clinics continue to take place across the borough, no appointment needed."

Details of all vaccination clinics, including a new regular pop-up in Bridgnorth, are available on the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin integrated care system website here: https://stwics.org.uk/

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