The latest COVID-19 status report for Cumbria has been published. The weekly report sets out key statistics relating COVID-19 infections in the county.
This week’s report shows a continuing concerning increase in cases in Carlisle and also new small spike of cases in the Eden area.
The increase in Eden follows a long period of very low case numbers in the district.
The total number of positive cases in both areas remains below other areas of concern in the North West, but the rates of infection per 100,000 population are significantly higher than the overall North West and England averages.
Other districts in the county continue to experience very low levels of new infections.
The local multi-agency Health Protection Board is closely monitoring the situation and is proactively contact tracing known cases.
Based on information provided by confirmed cases, a general public call was issued for people to get tested who had visited some Carlisle pubs earlier this month.
As a result there has been a large increase in the number of people being tested and the data from this testing will become available over the coming days.
Data suggests that the situation in Eden is related to a small number of specific events but work continues to understand and contain the outbreak. Further information and advice will be issued to the public if deemed necessary by the Health Protection Board.
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, said: “The outbreaks we’re seeing in Carlisle and Eden are putting these areas in the national spotlight, but the situation is significantly different to what is going in other parts of the region and appear to be connected to social events and the night time economy.
“What is of concern is the fact that infection numbers are increasing, even though the total number of cases remains comparatively low.
“It is notable that a significant proportion of the new cases in Carlisle and Eden relate to house parties or BBQs where there was mixing between groups from multiple households. I urge people to think carefully before holding these types of gathering.
“We have asked some people in Carlisle who visited certain pubs to get tested, even if not symptomatic, and the response has been fantastic. That data will help hugely in understanding if there has been infection spread, and will guide how we respond to similar situations in future.
“To contain the spread we need people to stick to the basic public health advice – social distancing, hand washing, wear a mask or face covering in enclosed public spaces and self-isolate and get tested if you start showing symptoms.”
Key symptoms of COVID-19 include: persistent cough, high temperature and/or loss of taste or smell.
Director of Public Health statement regarding pubs and COVID-19
Colin Cox said: “What’s been clear from events this week is how important it is that pubs and other venues have really robust arrangements in place to collect and store contact details for customers and that customers provide accurate information when asked.
“Public feedback has indicated that there have been differences in the approach taken by different venues and some have been more effective than others.
“Initially this week we took a blanket approach to publically identifying pubs and venues which had been visited by people who were likely to have been infectious. This was no reflection on those venues and we thank them for their cooperation.
“In future, we will only name venues when we do not have sufficient confidence in the contact tracing information that has been collected and believe that a general public message is necessary to ensure all possible contacts are made aware.
“If people are contacted by our contact tracing team, either on the phone or by text message, it is really important that they follow the advice given. This the best way we have to keep this virus in check.”