RUGBY residents are being urged to take extra care over the Christmas period following a steep rise in Covid cases.
Rates in the borough have increased from 108.32 cases per 100,000 per week on December 5, to 389.2 today (December 24).
The biggest rises have been seen in children under 18, and in 18 to 24-year-olds. There has also been a small rise in cases in those aged 65 and over.
Warwickshire’s Director of Public Health, Dr Shade Agboola said: “The rise in cases in Rugby is worrying to see as case numbers have previously been quite low. The rise in under 18’s is also of concern, especially as the Christmas period will see many families with elderly, more vulnerable residents coming together, and this could lead to a rise in cases in those who are at increased risk.
“I know that residents have been working hard to follow the rules of hands, face space and I would encourage them to continue doing that, but I would also urge people to think carefully about who they visit over Christmas and how they do that.
“Being in an enclosed space with the heating on and inadequate ventilation will help the virus to spread quickly, as will close contact with other people. If people are displaying any symptoms of Covid regardless of how mild, that is, a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a change to their sense of taste or smell – they must immediately self-isolate and book a test online at GOV.UK or by calling 119 as usual.
“We know that this year has been exceptionally hard on families and we know that despite the difficulties we have faced there is still more to do. However, with the roll out of the vaccine for the most vulnerable and front-line workers, improvements will come.
“In the meantime, please let’s continue to do the right thing for Warwickshire and let’s have a safe Christmas and New Year.”
Rugby Borough Council leader Coun Seb Lowe said: “We are at a critical point. And, with 1 in 3 infections in people without symptoms, there could be many more residents who are currently infected and don’t know it.
“Decisions we make now can make a real difference to the course of this pandemic. If we choose to meet up to two other households on Christmas Day as the rules allow, we must do so knowing the risk that we may pass on the virus and that our friends and family may become poorly.
“If we do choose to meet, we can reduce the risk by discussing our plans together and agreeing how we will keep our distance, wash our hands regularly, and make sure the space we meet in is well ventilated.
“There is no doubt that Christmas will feel very different this year. But, by taking these steps or by choosing to meet friends and family later in the year instead, we will be protecting each other.”
A new testing facility for those without symptoms of Covid-19 is set to open early in the new year in Rugby.
Testing facilities are already open in Bedworth, Leamington, Nuneaton and Water Orton and are free to use for Warwickshire residents. Visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/covidcommunitytesting for more information.