Public health chiefs are warning residents in parts of North West Leicestershire to take extra care over the coming weeks, as the district has jumped into the top 20 of the country's coronavirus hotspots.
For the last few days, the area has been hovering around the top 10 and today it’s ranked 11th in the list published by Public Health England of the worst areas for cases per 100,000 people.
Overall, cases in the area have risen by almost a quarter in the last week. There has been a similar rise in the number of over 60s getting the virus.
The county council's public health team are leading a coordinated response, along with district council colleagues, to find out what's happening and take swift action to prevent further rises.
Worryingly in Leicestershire, we're not seeing cases continuing to fall as far or as fast as other areas. The numbers have been plateauing in most areas and in some - like the north west of the county and parts of Charnwood - we're seeing concerning increases.
There aren't any large outbreaks - but we are seeing more cases related to people in their workplace than elsewhere.Person:Mike Sandys, Director of Public Health Leicestershire County Council
The latest data shows that infection rates are highest in the areas surrounding Coalville, including Snibston, Hugglescote and Bardon, as well as parts of Ibstock and Castle Donington.
The county and district teams have already taken action: all warehousing and distribution premises have received a visit from a COVID compliance officer over the last few weeks and key workers in the area are being offered regular rapid tests to flush out cases without symptoms.
In North West Leicestershire, 1.9% of rapid tests are coming back positive - which is higher than the county average of 1.2% - while 10% of tests are showing as positive among people with symptoms.
We're combing through the data to find out more about how the virus might be spreading - and why this area of North West Leicestershire is an outlier.
We know that testing is the key to tackling a hot spot, so we're asking people in some areas of the district to come forward - even if they don't have symptoms. They'll receive a leaflet through the door with advice and instructions.
In addition, we'll be ramping up the local advertising, writing to businesses and recruitment agencies, and asking people to be extra vigilant - especially if they have to take public transport or car share to work.Person:Mike Sandys, Director of Public Health Leicestershire County Council
Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council said: "I urge everyone in the district to take this seriously. Over the past year we have perhaps got used to our case numbers being stable compared to some areas – but this is not the case at the moment.
“Now it's clear that the tide is going out and leaving us behind. We’re calling on all our families, communities, employers, workplace and workers to do everything we can to stop the spread in North West Leicestershire and start bringing our rates down.”
Residents in North West Leicestershire are being particularly advised to:
- Stay at home, unless you have to go out for an essential reason
- Take extra care on public transport or in supermarkets
- Avoid car sharing, if you can, or take extra safety precautions - Advice for safe car sharing
- Remember the 'hands, face, space' guidance at all times
- Get the vaccine when it's offered to you
Join the county’s COVID health champions for the latest information, and to help spread the word - Become a covid-19 health campion