Residents are reminded to stay COVID-safe and get up-to-date with their vaccines as the infection rate of the virus rises in Cheshire West and Chester.
In recent weeks the number of COVID-19 infections has increased across the UK and the north west, with the dominant strain changing from the Omicron BA.2 variant.
Latest data shows that Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 now make up more than half of the COVID-19 cases in the UK and are driving the increase in infections.
In Cheshire West and Chester the seven-day infection rate to 24 June is 220 per 100,000 people, a 52% increase on the previous week.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey also estimates that 2.7% of people in Cheshire West and Chester are testing positive between 12 June and 18 June, which is a 0.7% increase on the previous recorded week.
There are 164 patients with COVID-19 being treated in local hospitals, an increase from 88 a week earlier.
Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We are seeing infection rates go up so it is a good idea we remind ourselves of how to keep each other safe.
“Our best defence is the COVID-19 vaccine. I want to stress that, although we are seeing an increase in the number of people being treated for the virus in local hospitals, this is not the kind of increase we have seen in previous stages of the pandemic. This is because of the high number of people who are vaccinated.
“It really is never too late to get your first, second or booster jab, and our teams will welcome anyone who hasn’t had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, please do consider getting yours and come forward. The vaccine is proven to be safe and effective at stopping you from getting seriously ill.
“It’s also a good idea to socialise outdoors this summer – and we’re lucky in Cheshire West and Chester to have some amazing parks and green spaces to meet up in. The fresh air blows COVID-19 particles away, so helps stop the spread of the virus, and spending time in the outdoors can also be really good for your mental health.
“Please also consider wearing face coverings when you’re in crowded indoor settings, like shops or public transport.
“If you do feel unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, like COVID-19, and you have a high temperature, please try to stay at home and avoid others.”
Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “I think we’d all agree that it has been lovely to have some normality back after the past two years, but it’s important to stay safe when rates do rise.
“There will be lots of plans for holidays and socialising over the summer holidays but please consider meeting up outdoors, face coverings and hand washing as part of these plans, and make sure you’re up to date with your vaccinations.
“This infection rate rise will worry us all to a different extent, but we can all play our part to look after each other and be kind.”
For more information on how to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
For information on services to help mental health and wellbeing visit:www.livewell.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.