The Covid-19 infection rate across Harborough has risen to one of the highest in England after a sudden spike at a Market Harborough school.
The outbreak has broken out among students just days after a 16th birthday party in Harborough was blamed for sparking a sharp jump in cases last month.
Harborough has now rocketed up to 13th in a table of 315 areas in England after 45 new cases were recorded in a week.
The latest outbreak has forced the current infection rate in the district up to 48 per 100,000 after it plunged to about 20 earlier this spring.
There were 16 new cases in the previous seven days.
Mike Sandys, Director of Public Health for Leicestershire, this afternoon declined to name the town’s school at the heart of the worrying new spike.
But he did confirm that the outbreak had occurred in a “school setting” in Market Harborough among the 10-19-year-old group.
Mike, who was today taking part in a crucial virtual conference with Prof Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, told the Harborough Mail: “This is not fantastic to be honest.
“It’s obviously disappointing that Harborough has gone back into the top 20 worst areas in the country at the moment.
“But the rates are still relatively low so we do have to put the situation overall into perspective.”
He said Public Health England officials are now holding high-level talks with senior staff at the Market Harborough school affected as they unite in a bid to tackle and beat the new coronavirus threat.
“We’ll be holding an Outbreak Control Team meeting tomorrow to discuss this issue and talk about what we do,” said Mike.
Asked how youngsters and teenagers could do more to stay safe and avoid spreading the highly-virulent Covid virus, the county’s health chief replied: “Let me put it this way.
“They are old enough to be doing their own thing – but not necessarily old enough to be doing the right thing.
“So at the moment we have more cases in Market Harborough than the rest of the Harborough district as a result of this outbreak,” said Mike.
“We all have to be on our guard when we start to open up yet again and lift the current lockdown still more right across England on Monday (May 17).
“We are not out of the woods yet when it comes to Covid-19.
“We all still have to wear face coverings when needs be, keep our social distance and keep washing our hands,” he insisted.
“And that clearly applies to all age groups – older people as well as young people, students and children.
“My message to every one of us across Harborough is simple – be sensible, be cautious and we will defeat this pandemic sooner rather than later.”