Covid-19 cases fall in Kirklees as West Yorkshire's 'major incident' status is downgraded

The Covid-19 infection rate in Kirklees has fallen by 23 per cent in the last week and the number of people in local hospitals with the virus is continuing to decrease - but the borough’s infection rate is still among the highest in the country.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 10:00 am
The Covid-19 infection rate has fallen by 23 per cent in Kirklees over the past week

Fifty-five people per 100,000 in Kirklees tested positive for Covid-19 over the last seven days. There were 243 new confirmed positive cases in the last week in Kirklees, a decrease from the previous week when there were 316.

There was one death in local hospitals related to Covid-19, down from four in the previous week. The number of people being treated with the virus in those hospitals is 11, down from 16 the week before.

A total of 207,000 people in Kirklees have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and 107,000 of those have had their second jab. Anyone aged 40 and over in Kirklees can book their vaccination now.

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West Yorkshire Prepared, the Local Resilience Forum, has downgraded the 'major incident' in the region for the first time since March 2020

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “The success the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is having in Kirklees is fantastic and it’s thanks to the 207,000 of you who have had at least your first dose and, of course, the remarkable health staff and volunteers who have made this possible.

“We have started to see the number of people in local hospitals and deaths related to the virus drop and remain low since the beginning of the vaccine programme. This is really encouraging, but we need to make sure we don’t become complacent.

“Our infection rate is still something we need to monitor closely because it is telling us that the virus is still spreading in our communities and more so in Kirklees than most other areas in England.

"As more and more restrictions are lifted, we have to make sure our infection rate does not increase and lead to more people being admitted to hospital or losing their lives.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council

“Now is the worst possible time to think we’re out of the woods and we all have a crucial role to play in getting Kirklees through the roadmap out of lockdown safely."

West Yorkshire Prepared, the county’s Local Resilience Forum, has announced it will be standing down the "major incident" status that has been in place in the region for more than a year, but is warning the public to remain vigilant.

After consultation with LRF partners, including the emergency services, local authorities and the NHS, it was agreed the alert level in the region can be downgraded, now activity across agencies and organisations has returned to a level that can be safely managed in each local area.

Dave Walton, co-chairman of West Yorkshire Prepared and Deputy Chief Fire Officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We declared a 'major incident 'on March 20, 2020 in response to the escalating Covid-19 pandemic due to heightened levels of activity in all our partner organisations, which far exceeded business as usual, and in anticipation of the situation worsening even further.

"Declaring a 'major incident' enabled us to ensure all partners were working together, sharing resources where required, and effectively dealing with and responding to challenges.

“The rollout and success of the vaccine programme has offered a little light at the end of the tunnel, and the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown shows the path we need to stay on to ease restrictions.

"However, we are very mindful of the potential for rates of infection to increase as restrictions are relaxed so, as a multi-agency partnership, we will continue to work extremely closely together to monitor the situation, respond where necessary and offer advice to the public.

"If necessary, we will escalate the 'major incident' once more.”

While the stand down is reflective of the position across West Yorkshire, there are some local variations. Local authorities are continuing to closely monitor their local infection rates and will take necessary action when and where required.