More than 1,100 coronavirus cases recorded in Walsall in a week

More than 1,100 new Covid cases were recorded in Walsall in just a week, the town’s public health department has revealed.

Members of Walsall’s local outbreak engagement board were told that the number of people testing positive for coronavirus continues to rise sharply, at a meeting on Monday.

Councillor Stephen Craddock, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, criticised people who were still meeting in large gatherings without observing rules to stop transmission.

Emma Thomas, from public health, said the main age groups being affected were young adults as well as those at an older working age, while they continue to monitor the vulnerable over-65s population.

She said: "Cases unfortunately continue to increase at a rapid rate and we have exceeded over 1,100 positive cases in the last seven days for Walsall.

“This represents one of the highest rates we’ve had in Walsall.

“The positive rate in Walsall has also increased and we are at a rate of 14.8 (per cent). That puts us slightly higher than our regional and national counterparts which are at 12.9 and 10.9 respectively.

"Across the borough as a whole, the community transmission is evident. Everywhere is getting affected at some time."

Councillor Craddock said the "stark" growth in cases since September meant Walsall was now at 400 per 100,000 population.

'Disappointing'

He said: "I’ve noticed that more people seem to be wearing face masks and the message is finally getting through.

"But the lockdown is meant to be a circuit breaker and stop the steep rise in infections and the vast majority of people are sticking to the rules by following the basics of washing hands, wearing a face mask, making space and, in addition, working from home, not using public transport and limiting journeys to essential travel only.

"Only by doing these things are we going to get the ‘R’ down and seeing any chance of some of the restrictions lifted by Christmas.

"It is therefore particularly disappointing when we see large groups of people meeting without following any of the guidelines. Funerals for example are strictly limited to a maximum of 30 people.

"Our enforcement teams are working closely with the police and we will be helping them identify breaches when they occur."

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