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HIGHEST EVER: Covid rates have ‘rocketed’ in Trafford

HIGHEST EVER: Covid rates have ‘rocketed’ in Trafford

Covid rates are ‘the highest they’ve ever been during the pandemic’, Image: Government Website

Trafford’s covid-19 infection rates have ‘rocketed’ in the last week.

The borough now has the highest infection rate across Greater Manchester – and the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic.

At a public engagement board meeting, councillors and health bosses met to discuss the situation as the borough’s infection rate reached 567.8 cases per 100,000 people.

In July, Trafford’s health bosses confirmed the borough’s infection rate then of 540 per 100,000 people was the highest it had previously been since March 2020.

Now it’s even higher.

According to the government’s interactive covid map, Urmston West currently has the highest infection rate across the borough by far, with a rate of 1,029.3 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending October 2.

The lowest is previous hotspot Old Trafford, with a rate of just 287.1 cases per 100,000 population.

Coun Mike Freeman, chairing the meeting, said: “It’s not lost on me that the infection rate in Trafford since we last met has rocketed and is now as high as it’s ever been during this pandemic.

“This is extremely disappointing, but I think the situation is made difficult by the fact that nobody really wants to talk about covid-19 any longer.

“There remains a sense out there that this pandemic is over and I cannot help feeling that central government have somewhat abandoned our children, their parents, schools and staff within schools to the ravages of covid-19.

“The situation in my view remains very grave. I’m aware of the pressure this is putting on our public health staff as they continue to work in what can only be described as very, very difficult circumstances.”

In the week ending October 1, the borough’s infection rate was confirmed at 530 cases per 100,000 people, with 1,200 people across the borough testing positive for Covid in the seven day period.

The previous week, the borough’s rate stood at 400 cases per 100,000 – marking a sharp increase.

There are currently over 800 children and nearly 100 staff members off school self-isolating across Trafford.

The borough’s testing rates are currently ‘very high’. Health bosses indicated that could be contributing to higher infection rates.

Helen Gollins, acting director for public health, echoed the concerns.

She said: “Unfortunately our rates have increased over the last week really sharply.

“We have the highest borough rates in Greater Manchester. We are looking like we are going to continue to increase for the next couple of days. Having said that, numbers are volatile and hopefully by this time next week we will be further down.

“There are a number of things we have to take away from this, one is our rates in the over 60s, the group we are most concerned about in terms of covid, have declined – so that’s one thing we have to be thankful for.

“Our care home staff and all of our other staff are working incredibly hard to keep our older, more vulnerable people safe.”

Ms Gollins admitted there are a small number of outbreaks at care homes, but said there is a ‘huge amount of work’ being done to protect those affected.

Trafford’s infection rates are highest among its 11 to 14-year-olds.

Ms Gollins added: “This is not saying anything about schools not being a safe place.

“Schools are working exceptionally hard to keep our children safe. We’ve got a fabulous work force across our schools in Trafford who are all fully capable in terms of infection control.”

Last week Trafford introduced a policy instructing everyone in a houshold to isolate for at least three days if one person tests positive.

The public health team in Trafford is currently researching which way the spread is happening to find out whether it’s from parents, to children into schools or otherwise.

Ms Gollins added: “Just to reassure people, we are as a team working incredibly hard to understand what it is that’s going on and we’re also reviewing all of the measures that we’ve put in place.

“I can’t see anything further that we aren’t doing or we aren’t considering. We are doing everything we possibly can as a team.”

 

Words: Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter


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