Rapid increase in overall Covid cases across Borough

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coronavirus testing

There has been a rapid increase in Bedford Borough’s overall Covid case rate over the last two weeks, a meeting heard.

Ian Brown, chief officer for public health, told yesterday’s (30 September) Bedford Borough Council Local Outbreak Engagement Board that in the last two weeks, the overall case rate had increased from around 250 per 100,000 residents to around 370 per 100,000.

“The high case rate is being driven by the high numbers of infections in our 11 to 15-year-olds,” he said, “But at the moment this isn’t translating into higher rates in the most vulnerable age groups.

“There has been a noticeable gradual rise in our 40 to 59-year-olds from around the middle of September.

“This could predominantly be the parents of affected school children testing positive, we are keeping a close eye on that.”

He added that the rate for Bedford borough’s over-60s is below the East of England average.

The presentation showed that there were “significant” numbers of cases in the Putnoe Newham, Bromham and Biddenham wards.

Cllr Sue Oliver (Labour, Kempston North Ward) said that she had seen families being less cautious than they were around Covid.

“Given that I have read that our infection rate has gone up 54 per cent in the last seven days, I suggest that we should still be urging great caution,” she said.

“When do you think we’ll have some data to confirm what the transmission rate between the young age group and their parents and grandparents is?”

Mr Brown responded that research is being carried out to try and link cases in households and that there should be an answer very soon.

“If you are meeting more vulnerable family members, then the advice to anybody over the age of 11 is please take a lateral flow test before you go,” Mr Brown said.

”This is exactly what I have been doing in my family.

“I don’t think we need to wait until we see a definitive link between those cases in the school-age population and the older adults.

“In my view, we should be doing what we can to reduce the number of infections across the community, regardless of the age group.”

Advice for Bedford Borough residents remains:

  • If you have symptoms, stay at home and book a PCR test
  • Continue to meet outdoors if possible and remember Hands – Face – Space – Fresh Air
  • Take a lateral flow test twice a week, or before you go to a busy place or visit a vulnerable person (http://www.bedford.gov.uk/covid-19-testing)
  • Get your Covid-19 vaccinations, including a booster jab if you’re eligible (get a free taxi to and from a vaccination site)

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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