Covid: Harrogate infection rate approaches 500 cases per 100,000 people after another sharp increase

Harrogate's climbing Covid infection rate has risen to 494 cases per 100,000 people and another two virus deaths have been added to the district's toll.
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At its current trajectory, the district will soon reach the grim milestone of 500 cases per 100,000 people as the virus continues to spread at a record rate.

But with current trends and a lag in data, it is likely that Harrogate has already reached this point.

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Cases have more than quadrupled since Christmas day and local health bosses say it is much more likely that the new, highly infectious variant of Covid-19 is now rife in Harrogate and the surrounding areas.

The rate of coronavirus infections in Harrogate has risen again to 494 cases per 100,000 people.The rate of coronavirus infections in Harrogate has risen again to 494 cases per 100,000 people.
The rate of coronavirus infections in Harrogate has risen again to 494 cases per 100,000 people.

It is also likely that social mixing before and during the festive period is starting to play out in terms of infections.

On Saturday, Harrogate District Hospital reported a further two coronavirus-related deaths to take the hospital's toll up to 113.

The hospital is currently treating 24 patients who tested positive for coronavirus - an increase of eight from the previous week.

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Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s director of public health, said the threat of the new variant requires much more strict adherence to the rules from the people across the county.

“We are dealing with a highly transmissible variant of the virus and now, more than at any other time during this pandemic, we need to stick to the lockdown rules," she said on Friday.

“The roads and streets are clearly busier than during the first lockdown and the dangers are evident as we see the numbers of cases continuing to rise. People can become seriously ill with Covid and some people sadly die, so I urge everyone to play their part in stopping the spread of this virus and stick to the rules.

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“This would be a terrible time to lose a loved one when the end of this pandemic is in sight with the vaccine roll-out."

Mrs Wallace also said it was important for people to stay locally when leaving home for essential reasons.

She added: "The rising number of Covid-19 cases is putting hospitals across the region under pressure during what would already be the busiest time of year, even under normal circumstances.

“So if you are thinking of going out and getting fresh air and exercise this weekend, which is important for keeping healthy, think twice before you get in the car and travel miles unnecessarily.

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“Use the amenities in your neighbourhood as much as you can. Think local, maintain a social distance, wash hands regularly and use a face covering in shops and busy outdoor spaces.”

Harrogate's infection rate (494) is the third highest in North Yorkshire - behind only Selby (525) and Craven (493).

The average rate for England is 610 cases per 100,000 people.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter