'Increase of cases is down to 90 per cent more testing,' says Calderdale health chief

Calderdale has seen a large increase in the number of people with Covid-19 over the last week.
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In terms of using the ‘R’ number – reproduction rate – it is above one in the borough, and Director of Public Health Deborah Harkins told members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday, which meant the virus was being transmitted on a ‘widespread basis’, she said.

In response testing has been ramped up by 90 per cent and four per cent of those tested last week tested positive, which is above the national average of one per cent, said Ms Harkins.

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Testing was being made more accessible, which as a result, meant it was expected the rate would continue to increase in the immediate future.

Director of Public Health Deborah HarkinsDirector of Public Health Deborah Harkins
Director of Public Health Deborah Harkins

“As we test more people, we will find more,” she said.

Ms Harkins said there was no evidence people in Calderdale were not socially distancing compared to other areas.

“What we’re seeing when we look at the data is certain groups impacted more by lockdown because of their living and working conditions,” she said.

For example, people in shops had been working right through lockdown, said Ms Harkins.

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“But the difference now is that the people they are in contact with are themselves in contact with more people and that’s what is enabling the virus to spread more rapidly,” she said.

The council and partners were engaging with communities and businesses to support them – this was at the heart of the approach.

Calderdale was one of several neighbouring boroughs in the north of England made subject to local restrictions by Government late last week because of a spike in numbers of people with Covid-19. Others included Kirklees and Bradford in West Yorkshire.

Rolling weekly figures published by NHS Digital show a 44 per cent increase in cases in Calderdale between July 26 and August 1, giving the authority a figure of 37.1 people per 100,000 having the virus, with 78 new cases - compares to 24.3 people per 100,000 from July 19 to 25.

For updated guidance, visit: www.calderdale.gov.uk