Covid-19 infection rate in Harborough is now the fifth highest in England due to surge in cases in schoolchildren
There were about 600 new cases in the space of a week
The Covid-19 infection rate in Harborough has become the fifth highest in England, it’s emerged this afternoon (Friday).
The rise in the district’s number of positive tests to a new record high has been spiked by a surge in cases in schoolchildren and young people aged under 20.
The coronavirus infection rate in Harborough has leapt to a new all-time high of 664.7 per 100,000 people – almost double the national average.
Mike Sandys, the Director of Public Health for Leicestershire, said the latest figures refer to the period from Sunday September 19 to Saturday September 25.
There were about 600 new cases that week.
“The number of cases has gone up by 59 per cent in the last week.
“As of today (Friday) Harborough has the fifth highest rate anywhere in England,” Mike told the Harborough Mail.
“The current rate is 664.7 cases per 100,000 which I’m sure is the highest we’ve ever recorded.
“It’s obviously not good that we have so many cases of the coronavirus in Harborough.
“But I’m more relaxed about this than I’d have been six months or a year ago because we are looking at a very different picture here.
“Some 62 per cent of all new cases in Harborough are among children and young people aged under 20 – most notably 11-16-year-olds.
“Youngsters are clearly being infected mainly at school and spreading it among themselves.
“And the second group that’s been worst hit are their parents – people aged from 30-50, largely the 35-45-year-olds,” said the county’s public health supremo.
“About three quarters of all cases in Harborough are among our school age population or their parents as it spreads amongst them.
“There are very few cases, for example, affecting people aged over 60 or those aged in their 20s.
“And again we are ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to this new spike because our students returned to school at least a week earlier than anywhere else,” stressed Mike.
“We’ve had a significant number of cases at Lutterworth High School – just over 100 – which have helped to push up the overall figure for Harborough.
“We are working closely with the school – which is working flat out – to try to combat this spike.
“As a result, Lutterworth, Misterton and Broughton Astley have all been hit.”
But Mike said the latest signs on the Covid front are much more positive.
“Looking at the most recent data Harborough’s figures are looking a lot better.
“The district might well be down to about 550 cases per 100,000 on Monday.
“And by that time we may well out of the top 20 worst-hit areas in England,” said the public health chief.
“Significant numbers of pupils will have been forced to leave school and isolate at home.
“Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust is also starting to roll out its vaccination programme for schoolchildren across the county.
“The first jab will take two to three weeks to kick in and take full effect,” said Mike.
“But we’ll soon begin to see the positive impact vaccinations will have in helping to keep us all safe and bringing cases down.
“Just looking back, I see our rate in Harborough on June 12 at the start of the Euros was just 36.2 cases per 100,000.
“But this will blow itself out.
“My plea to everyone is to get the vaccination as soon as you’re offered it – it’s a life-saver.
“And continue to take all the usual common sense precautions.
“Make sure that your home is well ventilated – open all the windows.
“Keep a safe distance between you and your kids.
“Use separate towels – and continue to wash your hands regularly and properly.
“And wipe down hard surfaces such as door handles to cut the risk of infection,” said Mike.
“The number of cases is just one indicator of the current Covid situation in Harborough.
“We had about 12 deaths across Leicestershire last week from the coronavirus where as at the peak of the crisis last January we were seeing over 90 deaths a week.
“We have about 100 patients in Leicester’s major hospitals at the moment with Covid – and that’s down from about 180 a month ago.
“So we will get there, slowly but surely.”