Ilkley residents are being urged to take extra steps to make sure they minimise the risk from the new variant of COVID-19 which is accounting for a rising number of cases locally.
Based on the latest laboratory results of coronavirus tests, it is estimated that between 50% and 70% of positive cases in the district are now from the new strain. This new variant is 50% more infectious and has spread rapidly across other parts of country. Bradford Council is keen to make sure residents are aware of what they can do to reduce its effect on people in the district.
Overall, infection rates are starting to rise again locally and the increase in new variant cases suggests they will continue to rise for a period. The latest weekly figures saw the district’s infection rate at 232.5 cases per 100,000 population, a 40% increase on the previous week.
There are concerns we are also starting to see an increase in hospital admissions.
Sarah Muckle, Bradford Council’s Director of Public Health said: “We all need to do as much as we can to stem the spread of the new variant and reduce pressures on hospitals and the NHS while they roll out the vaccines.
“When COVID measures were first introduced we were all very careful about staying safe but now there is a danger that we may have let our standards slip almost a year into this crisis.
“Now is the time to check we are all washing for a full 20 seconds every time we arrive at a new destination, that we are keeping at least two, if not three, metres from people from other households and that we are wearing face masks over the nose and mouth where required.
“Not only will this help reduce infections and hospital admissions, but it will also help reduce pressure on the NHS so those who need help with medical issues that are not COVID can be seen quicker.
“The Council will be encouraging staff and visitors to adopt three-metre social distancing in all its buildings where possible given the highly infectious nature of the virus.”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Everyone has a role to play in reducing the infection rate in the district. We only have a short window of opportunity to slow the rapid increase of the new variant. We’re repeating the message to people to Stay at Home and focus on hands, face, space.
“The more people do this, the lower the infection rates and the lower the number of deaths we will have from this new variant.
“The vaccinations have started but there is no certainty from Government yet for its steady supply. So in the meantime everyone needs to take responsibility and help the whole community to stay safe.”
These new figures show that the infection rate for Covid-19 in Bradford is rising so it’s important that people get themselves tested and self-isolate if positive to slow down the spread of the virus.
Bradford district residents can take advantage of a range of ways to get tested for Covid-19, whether they have symptoms or not.
Community testing aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus in the highest risk areas. Taken together with existing national restrictions, community testing will help save lives.
Testing is available for people without symptoms at St George’s Hall in Bradford city centre and in the Airedale Shopping Centre, Keighley. There is no need to book an appointment – anyone who lives or works in the Bradford district can just turn up.
Please do not go to either of the testing centres if you do have symptoms – they are only for people with no symptoms.
Home testing is also being offered on the doorstep by our community engagement volunteers and staff in targeted areas each day – further information on where they are working can be found on the council website: www.bradford.gov.uk/health/health-advice-and-support/coronavirus-testing-in-bradford-district/
Anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Free test kits are also available at many pharmacies in Bradford. There is no need to reserve or book a test but please do not visit the pharmacy in person if you have any symptoms. You can send someone to pick up a free test kit for you if they don’t have symptoms and they live outside your household. Further information at www.bradford.gov.uk/health/health-advice-and-support/coronavirus-testing-in-bradford-district/