With confirmed cases of Covid-19 (coronavirus) more than doubling in Bedford Borough in the last seven days, residents are urged to be cautious and to exercise common sense.
Cases per 100,000 people rose from 39.8 last week to 84.3. Prior to mid-April, cases in the Borough had been steadily falling.
A statement from the Council said: “We have been notified of cases of a COVID-19 Variant of Concern (first identified in India).
“Working with Public Health England and the DHSC, the Council, as a precautionary measure, arranged additional testing of close contacts to be carried out.
“This additional testing will identify any further COVID-19 positive cases, ensure people know to self-isolate and help slow the spread.”
Most cases are among those aged under 40 and parents are urged to be additionally cautious as the highest increase has been among those aged between 11 and 22.
“Please look out for symptoms and if you are in any doubt, please keep your child off school and arrange a PCR test as soon as possible,” said the statement.
With Covid restrictions relaxing further from Monday (17 May), residents are being encouraged to meet friends and family outdoors where fresh air can disperse the virus.
Twice weekly tests
The Council is encouraging everyone to take up the offer of twice weekly rapid testing to help stop the spread of the virus.
People without symptoms can drop in to the rapid test centre at the Faraday Community Centre, off Elstow Road, Bedford.
No appointment is needed and results come back in less than an hour.
Home test kits can also be collected from the test centres, some pharmacies and libraries or ordered online.