Trafford executives fighting ‘rocketing’ Covid infection rates say the situation is ‘very serious’ – and have issued new guidance on children isolating and face masks in schools.
The city’s infection rate is currently 618.1 per. 100,000 people – an increase of 37 percent in one week.
It’s the highest rate the borough has seen since the pandemic began – and the highest of any borough in Greater Manchester at the moment.
This is the fifth highest rate in the UK as things stand, according to the Public Health England analysis.
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Trafford has had the highest increase in infection rates for any of the 315 local government areas in England in the past week.
Around 349 tested positive on Monday this week, which is by far the highest daily total.
Chiefs say it is driven by an increase in infections among school children.
There are 29 outbreaks at schools throughout the district, ‘which has a major impact on attendance and staff absenteeism’.
Leaders are desperately trying to stem infections.
Health officials say teachers and staff ‘have worked extremely hard to ensure their schools are as safe as possible’.
New measures – which go beyond national advice – have been introduced.
Students and staff at the junior high school are now advised to wear face masks as they move around buildings.
Parents who drop off and pick up are also asked to wear masks.
Last week, Trafford executives introduced a policy asking parents to isolate their children for three to five days – before taking them for a PCR test – if anyone in their household tested positive.
This differs from national guidance. Since August, double-vaccinated adults and all children have not had to isolate themselves if they are in close contact with someone who has Covid.
Helen Gollins, Acting Director of Public Health at Trafford Council, said: “Unfortunately, our covid-19 rate in Trafford is very high and it continues to rise.
“With these measures, we hope to reduce the number of cases in schools so that children can continue to attend lessons.”
Mrs Gollins said at a meeting this week: “Last week, Trafford introduced a different policy that differs from the national policy on household contacts.
“Our recommendation is only for household contacts, so if mom and dad feel bad about Covid, the kids, if they go to school, usually stay until day three or five and PCR test at that time.
“It makes it possible to return a little more of the incubation and the more reliable PCR result and then, if it is negative, to return to school.
“What we’ve seen is that the household is spreading.”
The city’s infection rate has ‘kicked off’ in the last week, with the highest being seen among 11- to 14-year-olds.
At a meeting of the board of public engagement on Thursday (October 7) – when the degree of infection was 567.8 cases per. 100,000 people – councilors and health chiefs met to discuss the situation.
In July, when the board last met, it was confirmed that the city’s infection rate – 540 – was the highest it had been.
According to the government’s interactive Covid map, Urmston West currently has the highest infection rate in the borough – 1,029.3 cases per year. 100,000 people a week ending October 2nd.
The lowest is former hotspot Old Trafford at a rate of 287.1.
Coun Mike Freeman, who chaired the meeting, said: “It has not been lost to me that the rate of infection in Trafford since we last met has skyrocketed and is now as high as it has ever been during this pandemic.
“This is extremely disappointing, but I think the situation is made more difficult by the fact that no one really wants to talk about Covid-19 anymore.
“There is still a sense that this pandemic is over and I cannot help but feel that the central government has left something to our children, their parents, schools and staff within schools to the ravages of Covid-19.
“In my opinion, the situation is very serious. I am aware of the pressure it is putting on our public health staff as they continue to work in what can only be described as very, very difficult circumstances.”
There are currently more than 800 children and nearly 100 staff outside the school isolating themselves.
The city’s test rates are ‘very high’. Health managers indicated that it could contribute to higher infection rates.
Mrs Gollins reiterated her concerns.
She said: “Unfortunately, our rates have risen sharply over the last week.
“We have the highest neighborhoods in Greater Manchester. We look set to continue to rise over the next few days. That said, the numbers are volatile and hopefully we will be further down at this point next week.
“There are a number of things we need to take away from this, one is our rates in the ’60s, the group we are most concerned about in terms of Covid has fallen – so that’s one thing we need to be grateful for. for.
“Our nursing home staff and all of our other staff work incredibly hard to keep our elderly, more vulnerable people safe.”
Gollins admitted that there are a small number of outbreaks in nursing homes, but said a ‘big job’ is being done to protect those affected.
Trafford’s infection rates are highest among 11- to 14-year-olds.
Gollins added: “This does not say anything about schools not being a safe place.
“Schools are working exceptionally hard to keep our children safe. We have a fabulous workforce across our schools in Trafford, all of which are fully capable of infection control.
“Just to reassure people, we as a team are working incredibly hard to understand what is going on and we are also reviewing all the measures we have taken.
“I can not see anything further that we do not do or we do not consider. We do everything we possibly can as a team.”
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