New COVID-19 variant rising in Kirklees

COVID-19 infection rates are still rising in Kirklees and the new variant, which spreads more easily, accounted for half of all new cases over the last week.

There were 1,374 new positive COVID-19 cases in the borough over the last seven days which is an increase of around 16 per cent from last week. You can view all the data on the online dashboard.

The new variant of the virus, however, has quickly grown in prevalence. 50 per cent of all positive COVID-19 cases were of the new variant over the last week, up from 25 per cent last week and has almost doubled week-on-week over the last month.

The latest data shows that in the last seven days 312 per 100,000 people in Kirklees tested positive for COVID-19, compared to the previous week when it was 267 per 100,000 people. Whilst this is below the national average, rates are continuing to rise every week and the sharp increase in the presence of the new, more transmissible variant, means Kirklees’ situation is continuing to grow in seriousness.

There were 79 Kirklees residents admitted to hospital in the last week (Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield hospitals) who tested positive for COVID-19. Sadly, 12 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 died in one of these hospitals over the same time period.

The Government announced on Monday 4 January that all areas in England are now in a national lockdown, with COVID-19 rates rapidly rising throughout the country.

Visit Kirklees Council’s website for more information about the restrictions in place.

The council is encouraging all critical workers without symptoms to get tested weekly at one of four centres across Kirklees. You can view the Government’s website for a list of critical workers.

Visit Kirklees Council’s website for more information, and to find your local community testing centre.

As the country is in lockdown and we need to stay at home as much as possible, our four community testing sites are now only open to critical workers.

Anyone in Kirklees who has COVID-19 symptoms still needs to arrange a test by calling 119 or going to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said: “Over the last few weeks the new variant has quickly become more prevalent in Kirklees and it accounted for half of all new positive cases over the last seven days. We know this new variant spreads more easily and we’ve seen evidence of that in other parts of the country.

“This, alongside our overall infection rates increasing every week, means we’re at a crucial point and we must all prevent the virus from spreading.

“We can all play our part to keep each other safe. The best thing you can do to protect your family and community over the coming weeks is to stay at home. Only leave your home for essential reasons and for exercise. Please remember that the basics – such as hand-washing, social-distancing, wearing a face covering and getting tested if you have symptoms – are still a key way we can reduce infections.

“If you’re a critical worker and need to leave home to do your job, please get tested once a week at one of our four community testing centres if you don’t have symptoms. As many as one in three people who have the virus are asymptomatic, so it’s really important we identify people who are carrying the virus without knowing.

“Over 10,000 people have now received the vaccine in Kirklees and more people are joining this list every day. Thank you to everyone involved in this amazing effort and to those who have received it. You will be contacted when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. In the meantime, following the guidance will reduce the risk to you and your community”

I want you to know that we are here to support you. If you’re vulnerable and need support, please visit Kirklees Council’s website or call 0800 4561114.