By Tony Earnshaw LDRS
Coronavirus cases are sky-rocketing in Kirklees, with the borough experiencing the ninth highest rates in the country according to health chiefs.
And with 33 people dying from the virus in the last week the situation is said to be “continuing to grow in seriousness”.
Now residents are being urged to do their bit to turn the situation around at a local level.
In a stark message Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council, said: “Our rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalisations and deaths are all increasing every week.”
The latest data shows that in the last seven days 571 per 100,000 people in Kirklees tested positive for COVID-19, a big jump compared to last week when it was 515 per 100,000 people.
There have been 2,510 new positive COVID-19 cases in the borough over the last seven days with cases in every single ward.
Figures from hospitals in Kirklees, Calderdale or Wakefield show that there were 33 COVID-19-related Kirklees deaths in the last week along with 103 Kirklees people who were admitted to hospital.
The latest information also shows that 159 Kirklees schools (127 primary, 20 secondary, three all-through/middle, six all-through special, one Pupil Referral Unit schools) currently have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
There are a total of 4,672 pupils in Kirklees that are either suspected/confirmed COVID-19 cases or are self-isolating and are not in school as a result. 192 are confirmed positive cases.
The figures are so alarming that Ms Spencer-Henshall has made a renewed plea for all residents to play their part in turning the situation around.
She said: “I cannot stress enough how serious our current situation is.
“Our rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalisations and deaths are all increasing every week and we are continuing to quickly move up the national table.
“This week we’ve moved into the top ten of areas with the highest rates. 2,500 people in the last week became infected with COVID-19 and this is a big number.
“The harsh reality is that the higher our rates climb; more people end up in hospital and more people lose their lives. We’ve got to turn this around together.”
The council has asked that Kirklees gets access to lateral flow tests, which will give almost instant results. It will use those rapid tests to support the most vulnerable residents and believes it will help to save lives and reduce hospital admissions.
Ms Spencer-Henshall added: “What we need everyone else to do during this lockdown period is to limit your contact with other households to an absolute minimum, stay at home as much as possible and please, if you have any symptoms at all, self-isolate.
“We know how difficult this lockdown period is, but it’s vital that we all take it seriously and get through it together.
“Please continue look out for each other, as you always do, and thank you for playing your part.”
Along with the rest of England, Kirklees remains under lockdown restrictions.