Local lockdown warning after ‘concerning’ spike in coronavirus cases in Carlisle and Blackburn

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LOCKDOWN restrictions could be placed in Carlisle after a “concerning” spike in coronavirus cases.

Data released on Friday shows there were 20.3 new cases per 100,000 residents in Carlisle in the seven days to July 7 – compared with 18.5 new cases the seven before.

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It comes as Blackburn has become the 5th and Carlisle the 11th worst-hit area for coronavirus infections, according to Public Health England.

The town is still far behind Leicester, that is currently under a local lockdown, as there were 122.2 new cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days to July 7 – compared with 131.8 new cases the seven before.

In Blackburn, a mobile testing site for coronavirus will be set up in the car park at Witton Park Academy from tomorrow following a “moderate” rise in cases.

Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health, said: “This temporary testing site is open to those in this area of Blackburn and also the wider borough for those who feel they need a test.

“Sites like this allow people to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to quarantine with their household or seek treatment if needed.

“Whilst we haven’t had the level of outbreak seen in Leicester and other areas, we are aware of our raised rate of confirmed cases according to recent data.

“We are therefore introducing a range of measures to mitigate risks in a proportionate and phased way – and the mobile testing unit is one of them.”

Public health chiefs in Carlisle have said there a local lockdown may be necessary if a “small but concerning rise” in the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase.

Claire King, consultant in public health at Cumbria County Council, said: “After a steady overall decline, the rate of infection in the Carlisle area has gone up over the past week.

“The increase is not large but it is concerning and we cannot ignore this.

“At the current time, we are a very long way from reimposing lockdown restrictions given the overall low number of cases.

“But we have to recognise how easily Covid-19 can spread and that if we see these numbers continuing to increase, then restrictions may become necessary.

“We will be analysing the data further over the next few days to learn more and if we need to adjust our action, we will do so.”

The city council said they are investigating the reasons for this increase, adding that the easing of national lockdown restrictions is one.

A known “small” outbreak at Cumberland Infirmary is also being looked into.

Anna Stabler, chief nurse at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are caring for people with coronavirus in our hospitals and have a small outbreak at the Cumberland Infirmary that is being actively managed.

“This is in line with what we might expect given the recent easing of lockdown and the hospital becoming busier as services are restarted.

“We are taking additional measures to contain the outbreak on site in the interests of safety of our patients and staff.

“However, we need the help of the whole community to prevent further new cases in Carlisle.

“We are appealing to the public to adhere to social distancing measures to protect people who are most vulnerable, including those patients who do require urgent treatments for conditions such as cancers and stroke.”

 

 

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