Local COVID-19 test results data shows a slight increase after a 24 per cent drop

Last week’s data shows a slight increase in COVID-19 infection rates in Kirklees over seven days after dropping by 24 per cent the previous week.

An encouraging sign is that we are currently no longer within the ten highest areas for positive infection rates. This is a credit to local people and the efforts you are all going to – but our rates have still increased and are still above the national average so we need to continue to all do our bit and bring them down further.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said: “Last week week’s data shows a slight increase in our COVID-19 infection rates over seven days, which is mainly due to an outbreak at a care home that has now been contained.

“Our rates had dropped by 24 per cent. However, last week there was an outbreak at a care home in North Kirklees, which resulted in a number of residents and staff testing positive.

“Our thoughts are with those that have been infected, who are being well cared for. We cannot reveal the name of the care home to protect the confidentiality of the people who live and work there, but their families are aware and this outbreak has been contained and poses very little risk to the general public.

“An encouraging sign is that we are no longer within the ten highest areas for positive infection rates. This is a credit to local people and the efforts you are all going to but please keep it up as our rates have increased and are still above the national average so we need to bring them down further.

“We all have a part to play in doing this and the easiest and most effective way is to continue to social distance, wash hands regularly and get tested if you have symptoms. We’re now also urging people not to hold events that could attract a crowd of more than 30 people.

“The Government announced new restrictions for areas in the North of England, including Kirklees, on 30 July. Government announced on Friday 7 August that these restrictions will remain in place and they will review it again on 14 August.

“I know how difficult a sacrifice this is to make, and I’d like to thank you all for following the guidance and keeping each other safe. If we continue to do this together, we will see these restrictions lifted.”

 

Useful information

The Government releases new data every week which tells us what the rates of positive coronavirus tests are for each area, including Kirklees.

What does it tell us about Kirklees?

During the pandemic, 568.0 people per 100,000 residents have tested positive for the virus.

The data also tells us that 23.7 people per 100,000 residents tested positive in Kirklees in the past week. This is slightly higher than the rate of 21.2 we had last week, which was lower than the 28.0 the previous week.

The current national rate is 9.3. The current West Yorkshire average rate is 27.9.

In summary, our infection rates have increased by 12 per cent over the last week after dropping by 24 per cent the previous week.

We believe the reason for this increase is mainly due to an outbreak at a care home in North Kirklees, which has now been contained.

A relatively small number of cases can make a large difference to rates and this needs to be considered when looking at weekly changes and comparisons with other areas.

How does Kirklees compare to others in the country?

Our rates have been above the national average every week since the local data has been released. Although rates have increased this week, they have dropped significantly in recent weeks but we need to bring them down further to save lives and avoid a local lockdown.

An encouraging sign is that we are no longer currently within the ten highest areas for positive infection rates. This is a credit to local people and the efforts you are all going to but please keep it up as our rates are still above the national average and can very quickly increase if we become complacent.

Why are the numbers higher in Kirklees than in other areas?

Nobody yet knows exactly why COVID-19 is more prevalent in some places than others but we have begun an action plan to tackle any local spikes of infections.

Are there areas in Kirklees that have higher rates than others?

Yes, and we are targeting any areas that have spikes in infection rates.

Initially, we targeted Ravensthorpe, Saville Town and Batley West, for extra support and have been focussing on people in the 20-40 years old age group.

We’ve also been delivering additional support in Birkby and Fartown where we’ve also noticed spikes in infection rates. This will now also happen in Heckmondwike as we’ve seen a spike in cases there in the last week.

We will continue to analyse the data to learn more about spikes or trends in areas or within specific social groups across Kirklees and we will take targeted action to bring rates back down and save lives.

New restrictions for Kirklees

On 30 July, the government announced new restrictions for 4 million people in the North of England, including everyone in Kirklees. These restrictions are still in place.

The main change in the rules is about visiting people in their homes or gardens. The new restrictions mean:

  • You cannot visit any other home or garden that isn’t your own.
  • You cannot have anyone visit your home or garden.

If you are part of a support bubble, you can continue to visit each other.

If you are going out (to a restaurant, pub or other indoor space) you must not go with anyone from outside your household. You cannot meet or interact indoors with people outside your household while you are out.

Read more on what these new restrictions mean for Kirklees.

How else can I help bring rates down further?

We all have a role to play in doing this. The advice is the same for everyone, whatever age you are and wherever you live.

Keep social distancing, wash your hands regularly and isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.

Please do not organise or attend an event that is likely to attract a crowd of more than 30 people.

Wearing a face covering is compulsory in shops and supermarkets. This is another easy way you can help. You may not know you are infectious. You may have no symptoms at all but that very same virus could be fatal for someone else.

When used correctly, wearing a face covering can reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets, helping to protect others.

What is the council doing?

We’re using the data we now receive to target areas in Kirklees that have higher infection rates.

An outreach operation in communities most affected by COVID-19 is already underway with local councillors leading hundreds of council staff in dispensing public health advice to residents and working with families and communities on how they can stay safe

We’re also offering increased testing in affected areas. Mobile testing units will now be available at:

  • Batley – Wards Hill Car Park, Wellington Street, Batley, WF17 5HZ
  • Dewsbury – Cliffe Street Car Park, Sharp Street, Dewsbury, WF13 1QZ
  • Holmfirth – Car Park at Holmfirth Pool and Fitness Centre, Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, HD9 3JL (from 10 August 2020)
  • Fartown Cricket Club, Spaines Road, Huddersfield, HD2 2RE

 

The units are available for anyone who thinks they have symptoms to get a test. These tests can be booked via the online national booking system or by ringing 119. You can also order a home test if you prefer.

We are also working with the Government to set-up a number of local walk-in testing units in areas with consistently higher rates.

We’ve also written to all residents in Kirklees with the latest information on how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

Why is it important to get tested?

It’s important for you to protect yourself from the virus, but it’s equally as important to protect other people.

Testing helps you stop the virus from spreading within our community. If we stop the virus from spreading, numbers of infections will go down and we will be able to get our freedoms back and keep our community safe.

The more we know about who has the virus, the more we can make sure it doesn’t spread through our community. It’s about protecting you, your family and your community.

Should I get tested?

If you have symptoms, you should get tested. Find out more about how to get a test.

3 comments

  • Thank you all for trying so hard to keep us all safe. If we all stick to the rules then our families can be kept safe but if we don’t then we could loose our loved ones which no one wants. This is a virus that knows no bounds and everyone is at risk. Younger people may think that it does not affect them. I have heard many of them say we are fit and well and would soon recover , that is NOT necessarily the case and they must be made aware that anyone can and do die from this even younger people.If they carry it home to their grandparents then it could be a tragic situation. We must all stick together and do as we are told. Higher fines for hose breaking the rules should be imposed and any other measures taken into consideration. A lock down for a while is far better than the virus getting out of control and the NHS not being able to cope. Lets look after each other and win this battle.

  • I agree with the basic principles of your comment, Wendy, but not the full council area restrictions which are grossly inconvenient and excessive. There should have been targeted action and advice within and around the community areas showing ‘spikes’ in cases from their onset. As we stand we have restrictions that are difficult to enforce/police because of the wide geographic area involved. It is a highly inappropriate set of measures when highly focused action is required. The ‘do as we are told’ epithet is fair enough on the national advice but not for this ‘whack an elephant instead of a few moles’ policy. It is yet another example of the Johnson/ Cummings/ Hancock axis getting it wrong.

  • Thanks for this update, its really helpful. I’m more confident about getting on top of this now that local officials seem to be enabled to take more control. In my view that has been lacking up till now because the govt seemed to want to control everything. I always felt they should have trust in the local arrangements – Public Health are the experts in this and I believe will get us through it – thanks for all that you’re doing.

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