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Fenland Covid rates coming down - but still high in Wisbech

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As Covid rates remain high in parts of Fenland particularly in Wisbech people are being urged to stick to the rules.

Lockdown is beginning to have an impact on levels across Cambridgeshire, but the infection rate in Wisbech is higher than other parts of the county.

Val Thomas, consultant in public health for Cambridgeshire County Council, admitted infection rates across the district, and the county as a whole, were "very high" after Christmas when families had got together to celebrate.

But she said: “The impact of moving into lockdown is beginning to bite as Covid-19 infection rates are decreasing across Cambridgeshire. However, rates are not going down as fast in Fenland as in some other areas.

People in the Wisbech area are being urged to stick to lockdown rules. (44274491)
People in the Wisbech area are being urged to stick to lockdown rules. (44274491)

"We recognise there is a higher infection rate in Wisbech compared to other parts of the county and we are working closely with our partners - including Fenland District Council, the NHS and voluntary sector - to address this."

But she said: "The community must do their part in helping to bring the rates of infection down, by staying at home as much as possible.

"If people have to go out then they should stick to the 'hands, face, space' advice."

She continued: “There are a number of factors that put the area at greater risk, as there are many people in front-line jobs where they have to leave home to go to work, some households where several adults live together in the same house, and some people with disadvantage such as low income who need additional support to self-isolate.

"These factors all make it more challenging to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community, and this affects everyone - including older and vulnerable people."

She said figures on a government interactive map which showed Wisbech currently has an infection rate of between 400 and 799 per 100,000 (double the national rate) as "skewed" because of the relatively low population level.

Mrs Thomas also acknowledged there had been outbreaks in some of the Wisbech factories recently, but she said the main problem of infection rate lies within the community.

She said: "It is households mixing, it's people thinking it is OK to just pop next door for a cup of tea, or visit other people outside their bubble. But if you have the virus, but don't know because you have no symptoms, it is that quick pop next door that is going to enable you to spread it to another household.

"We understand people are tired and fed up of lockdown, but they must abide by the rules, it is the safest option for them and the community."

As for conspiracy theories which are rife on social media claiming the virus is a hoax, Mrs Thomas said: "It is very disheartening, you don't get over 100,000 deaths nationally from a hoax, so people should take it seriously.

"We are seeing greater numbers of cases within the working age population, they mostly have mild symptoms, but there are cases of younger people dying and so it is not worth the risk.

"Wisbech has a lot of large factories and they have worked very hard over the last year to manage the situation and have put a gamut of measures in place to make it as safe as possible for their employees.

"So it is quite galling for them to see employees breaking the rules outside of work.

"We all want the lockdown to end, and for life to get back to normal.

“There is real hope in the longer term, with the vaccination programme being rolled out, but for the moment we need to do everything we can to keep our rates of Covid-19 down.”

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