Covid: Harrogate infection rate now highest in North Yorkshire with average of 97 cases per day
Harrogate's coronavirus infection rate is now the highest in North Yorkshire after another increase in cases.
The borough’s weekly rate per 100,000 people stands at 424 - above any of the other six districts in the county including Scarborough (391), Selby (356), Richmondshire (322), Ryedale (296), Craven (276) and Hambleton (274).
The rate is nearing its previous record of 533 in July, although it has dipped slightly in recent days.
It comes as health officials have warned Covid levels across England are likely to increase further with the return of schools and colleges last week.
However, the latest figures for Harrogate, which cover up until last Thursday, have yet to show any significant change since the return at the start of the week.
Speaking last week, Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said: "The majority of pupils returned to the classroom in North Yorkshire on Tuesday, September 7, with some schools staggering the start date across the week as secondary pupils tested for coronavirus.
"Our priority for this school year is to keep as many children in school as possible, as we know the detrimental impact on their educational attainment from being away from the classroom, as well as the impact on their emotional, physical and mental health.
"We have worked with public health, head teachers and government guidelines to review all the policies and procedures that are in place to ensure a safe return to the classroom."
According to latest NHS figures, a total of 127,397 people in the Harrogate district have now received their first vaccine dose and 118,576 people their second.
Meanwhile, Harrogate hospital has reported six Covid deaths in just over the last three weeks, with its toll since the pandemic began now standing at 185.
It was also reported by an NHS official on Wednesday that the hospital was treating 11 Covid patients.
The increase in deaths comes as hospital bosses have warned this winter will be "more challenging than ever before" as staff continue to battle with backlogs and brace themselves for peak pressures.
Speaking last week, Dr Matt Shepherd, deputy chief operating officer at the hospital trust, said: "Even with the highly successful vaccination program, the risks of Covid-19 remain very real, particularly to the most vulnerable patients who find themselves unwell and in hospital.
"Whilst the latest Covid-19 admissions are significantly lower than the waves we experienced in the past, this virus has not gone away, it is still affecting how we operate, and we must be prepared if there is an increase in infections.
“Winter is always a challenging time and this year it will be more challenging than ever before as we continue to be affected by the pandemic."
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter