'Growing concern' about rising coronavirus cases in Wakefield
Wakefield Council have said there are 'growing concerns' about the number of coronavirus cases in Wakefield.
Speaking today, the district's Director of Public Health said that a sharp increase in cases had been recorded after "two large workplace outbreaks", where the majority of sufferers were asymptomatic - meaning they would not have known they were carrying the virus if they had not been tested.
It is expected that the Wakefield district will be identified as an "area of concern", the council said.
According to the latest figures, a total of 1,749 people in Wakefield have now tested positive for the virus, up from 1,615 at the start of the month.
As a result of this, people in Wakefield are being encouraged to wear face coverings in all enclosed public spaces and avoid hugging or close contact (including car sharing) with anyone outside their household.
Wakefield’s Director of Public Health, Anna Hartley, said: “Even though more things are starting to return to normal, the threat of COVID-19 remains a very real threat to our health and the health of our family, friends and colleagues.
“We have been closely monitoring the situation in Wakefield, and the wider region, from the start and the recent release of postcode data has helped us to understand the spread of the virus in the district.
"There is a growing concern that the number of people testing positive for the virus will continue to rise, and that the risk of more localised outbreaks remains - unless people take more action to reduce the spread of infection.
“Please do not underestimate the positive impact you can make by following the key safety guidelines.
“I am calling on all residents to follow five simple rules to help prevent the introduction of restrictions being necessary:
"Wear a face covering in any enclosed public space
"If you have underlying health issues or are aged 70+, avoid areas where you can’t adhere to 2m social distancing
"Avoid any hugging or close contact with anyone outside your household
"Don’t car share with anyone outside of your household
"Maintain regular handwashing.”
Wakefield Council said it had been actively supporting the businesses and communities affected by the outbreaks.
Anna Hartley said: “We have effective monitoring in place to map relevant data and spot trends, which acts as our early warning system. The increase in case numbers has resulted from two large workplace outbreaks, where workforce testing identified large numbers of asymptomatic cases.
“It is this early warning system that has identified the need for everyone to increase their efforts to tackle the spread of the virus, especially in areas of our lives where social distancing is not possible.”
“Now is absolutely not the time to be complacent. We must all work together to take action and follow the simple safety advice to protect ourselves and each other.
“We are stepping up our proactive approach and exploring making community testing available in areas of higher concern for people who don’t have symptoms.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners and local communities to try and ensure everyone knows the symptoms and how to access testing, as well as making sure the five simple preventative measures are clear to everyone.
“Anyone displaying coronavirus symptoms is urged to get a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.”