The number of people with Covid-19 in Harborough shot up to a new all-time high of almost 750 per 100,000 people, it’s emerged this afternoon.
The district’s rate of infection soared to the new record after being driven by a serious outbreak of cases at Meadowdale Primary School in Market Harborough, figures last Friday (December 10) showed.
The rate of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Harborough has now dropped to 659.4 – which is still the highest in Leicestershire and well above the national average.
And there have already been 10 cases of the potent new highly-infectious Omicron variant of the virus in Harborough, it’s been revealed.
Today Mike Sandys, the Director of Public Health for Leicestershire, told the Harborough Mail: “The rate of Covid infection in Harborough has really been going up and down over the last few weeks.
“It climbed to a new record of almost 750 cases per 100,000 people according to the latest statistics on Friday December 10.
“We had a real surge of cases in the district which I must admit I didn’t expect.
“But you just never know what’s round the corner when it comes to Covid.
“We had a substantial number of cases at Meadowdale school – and they helped to drive this sudden local surge.
“Thankfully the rate’s starting to drop again.
“As of yesterday (Tuesday) the numbers had fallen back to 659.4 in the period from Friday December 3 to Thursday December 9,” said the county’s public health chief.
“And that figure looks like it’s going to fall again over the next few days to about 550.
“That would be just about the current national average for Covid.
“At the moment some 30 per cent of all cases in Harborough are hitting the under-20s.
“But the numbers are still high for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
“It’s only when you get to people aged 60 and above that the figures start to drop.
“So this isn’t just about children and teenagers being infected.
“Parents, the wider family and other informal carers are also being affected by the looks of it,” stressed Mike.
“Harborough still has the highest infection figures in Leicestershire.
“The most up-to-date average for the county is 575.9 cases per 100,000.
“But Harborough should drop back into the pack, all being well, over the next week or so.”
The county’s vastly-experienced public health supremo said that about 10 cases of the fast-spreading new Omicron strain have so far emerged in Harborough.
“We have picked up about 130 cases in Leicestershire so far.
“But only 10 of those were detected here in the county between November 20 and Monday December 6.
“So we’ve had 120 instances of Omicron here in Leicestershire already since then,” said Mike.
“So we all have to be very careful this Christmas and into the New Year.
“Omicron does seem to be spreading faster than previous variants.
“And even if this new strain of the virus does turn out to be milder, as some reports suggest, we’ve all got to remember that some victims will still become seriously ill with it.
“And some people might still die.
“We can’t just assume that catching the Omicron variant will be no worse than getting a common cold.
“So I am pleased and relieved that MPs voted last night to back new restrictions across society.
“They don’t add up to a full-blown lockdown and they all make total sense.
“We had better be safe than sorry.
“I’d like to wish everyone in Harborough and across the county a very enjoyable Christmas next week.
“And there’s no reason why we can’t have sensible family get-togethers to celebrate the birth of Christ this year,” insisted Mike.
“None of us wants to be forced back into new lockdowns.
“But we’re all a bit nervous about the new threat posed by Omicron.
“And it’s awful timing that we have a new virus variant spreading very quickly right across the country this Christmas.
“So we have to keep calm and carry on doing the right thing.
“That means wearing a face covering going into shops and other indoor spaces, keeping our distance, washing our hands, ventilating our homes and cleaning all tops and surfaces.
“And make sure that you get your booster vaccination as soon as you can – it’s absolutely vital to be fully vaccinated and protected,” said Mike.
“There is obviously a risk of being hit by a new surge in cases in January following the Christmas and New Year festive season as happened last year.
“If that happens again and things go belly up I don’t want people looking back wishing they’d acted differently this Christmas,” said Mike.
“At the moment we have about 100 people with Covid being looked after in our three major hospitals in Leicester.
“We don’t want to overload under-pressure NHS staff by ending up in hospital ourselves with the coronavirus over the next few weeks.
“We have to look after ourselves – and each other as well.
“We have to show respect to other people.
“And again I’d like to wish everyone in Harborough a very merry and very safe Christmas and New Year.”