Wigan public health chief calls for caution as Covid-19 cases rise

Residents are being urged to remain vigilant ahead of the next stage in the relaxation of restrictions.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 9:17 am

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s director of public health, says caution is required as the borough moves to the next stage of the Government’s roadmap on Monday.

Covid-19 cases in Wigan have begun to rise, with a rate of 27.7 cases per 100,000 people in the most recent week of data which went up to May 7.

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Last year saw 100 extra staff in Wigan hospitals

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Professor Kate Ardern

She said health chiefs are doing everything they can to identify any outbreaks early but the public can help by continuing to follow regulations to slow Covid’s spread.

Prof Ardern said: “We’ve had an uptick in cases and that’s a bit disappointing. The situation in Bolton is pretty worrying, with a case rate around seven times ours.

“What we’re seeing is that the India variant is more transmissible, so those key messages about handwashing, wearing a face mask and keeping going with social distancing are really important.

“We need to exercise a bit of care and caution, keep everywhere well ventilated because aerosol transmission is important and stay outside in the fresh air as much as possible.

“I pay huge tribute to the citizens of this borough, whose compliance and kindness towards each other has been at the heat of keeping infections at bay.

“We’ve done it so far, we need to keep going through the easing of lockdown.”

Prof Ardern said that as soon as it was obvious cases in Bolton were rising fast messaging about public health was increased, particularly in wards bordering it.

Wigan workers also had to swiftly contain three outbreaks of the South African variant in the borough, while tracing teams have managed more than 90 per cent of contacts in the cases escalated to them.

Surge testing has been used when cases have been detected and plans are in place for further testing should that be needed.

Prof Ardern also urged Wiganers to ensure they get a vaccine when called.

She said: “If you get an appointment please keep it. We know vaccination is going to be important in breaking the cycle of transmission.

“Although it is early days the Indian variant does not seem to have an impact on the efficacy of the vaccines.”

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