Steep rise in COVID cases led to lockdown


Cherwell worst affected area in county as virus infections here shoot up by 77%

The latest COVID-19 infection rates for the Banbury FM area show a steep increase in the number of positive infection tests during the week up to New Year’s Day.   In the 7 days up to 1st January 936 people in our area were told they had tested positive for the virus.   That’s the highest weekly figure since the pandemic started and a 77% increase on the previous week.

The Cherwell District is by far the worst affected area of Oxfordshire with 756.1 cases per 100,000 people against a county average of 519.2 cases per 100,000 people.   Previously Oxford had been the worst affected area, but currently has a lower infection rate of 469 cases per 100,000 people.

A doubling of COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire in the space of a fortnight was one of the factors that prompted the government to place the nation into a third lockdown from 5th January.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “The number of cases both locally and nationally have risen hugely during December and people are once again being asked to stay at home. The new variant of COVID-19 spreads extremely quickly and these rules are being applied for our own safety and protection. We have had some good news as regards the Oxford vaccine but in coming weeks it’s important that we keep up the discipline of abiding by the rules.

“We have seen how aggressively the virus spreads and during 2020 as a whole we have seen that this virus thrives on human contact. We clearly still have some very difficult times to get through before the vaccine begins to make a significant impact on COVID-19.”

For the first time three areas of Banbury recorded more than 100 new COVID-19 cases last week: Ruscote – 125, Grimsbury – 107 and Hardwick – 102. Positive tests in Brackley doubled, up from 52 to 106.

The rises have been experienced across all age groups.   The number of cases in the over 60s have more than doubled in the last week.

National lockdown restrictions announced by Government mean we must stay at home to help contain the virus.

Ansaf Azhar said: “The quick move to a further national lockdown is a stark warning that we need to be extra vigilant. I would urge people to take personal responsibility as individuals and families throughout the coming weeks to give ourselves a chance of containing the virus and clearing a path for the vaccine.

“It is great news that the vaccine made in Oxford has now become the second in circulation in the UK. However this is precisely the time of year when viruses thrive and we must be on our guard.

“I would urge everyone to protect themselves, the communities in which they live and therefore the NHS as we progress through the early days of 2021.”

You can see the data for our area on the Covid-19 Dashboard.

You can listen to Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, here:

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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