Covid-19: Latest infection rate in Harrogate district as overall decline continues
The rate of coronavirus infections in Harrogate has continued to fall as schools prepare to return next week in the first easing of lockdown measures.
Latest figures from Public Health England show the borough's seven-day infection rate per 100,000 people stood at 72 on 25 February, down from 178 at the start of month.
It means Harrogate is averaging 16 new cases per day and comes as schools are getting ready to return from 8 March when meeting up socially outdoors with one other person will also be allowed under the first steps of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
Later this month, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will also be allowed from 29 March, as well as outdoor sports.
It comes as Harrogate hospital has reported five coronavirus-related deaths in the last seven days, with its toll since the pandemic began now standing at 160.
The Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said on Thursday that the hospital was treating 45 Covid-positive patients - a figure which had fallen by 20 from the previous week but still remained higher than where it was at the first peak.
The hospital trust also said almost 700 people in the borough have been hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began, with 486 being discharged after making a recovery.
The latest infection rate for Harrogate is below the England average of 96 and slightly above the same figure for North Yorkshire of 69.
The ward areas with the highest number of new cases in the last seven days were Killinghall and Hampsthwaite with 16, Hookstone with 15 and Boroughbridge and Marton-cum-Grafton with 14.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter