It’s been a week of ups and downs for COVID numbers in Cumbria as the Barrow area is seeing positive signs, but Carlisle has seen a rise in cases.
717 new COVID19 cases were reported in Cumbria in the week ending 16 October, up from 612 the previous week.
While Barrow – which is currently in Teir 2 – continued to have the highest number of new cases (194), the infection rate decreased slightly over the previous week (295/100k to 289/100k), providing an early indication that the local restrictions that have been put in place may be having a positive impact.
The area’s infection rate remains the highest in Cumbria and well above the national average (170/100k).
The Health Protection Board agreed that Barrow should remain a High Alert area.
Carlisle also saw a large rise in new cases compared the previous week, up from 87 to 190.
A significant rise in Eden is also of concern but may be related to increased levels of testing in the district.
Both areas now have an infection rate slightly higher than the national average and are being monitored closely, with consideration being given to whether further action may be required to reduce infection spread.
This week’s data also shows that for the first time since August the 45-59 year old age group saw the highest number of new cases, overtaking 15-29 year olds.
There were 50 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospital beds in Cumbria compared to 29 the previous week.
Dr Matthew Saunders, Consultant in Public Health at Cumbria County Council, said: “This week’s data for Barrow give cause for some cautious optimism but we are still a very long way from where we want to be.
“I’d want to thank people in Barrow for responding positively to the new rules that have come into force and it is essential that this effort continues.
“This situation in Carlisle, and to a lesser extent in Eden, gives cause for concern. The increase in new cases has been very fast and it may be that further action is needed to stop the spread, but this requires further discussion.
“It remains the case that if people follow the guidance, reduce social contact, wash hands and wear a face covering then we can reduce infections and avoid the need to increase local alert levels.”
The latest COVID-19 situation report can be found at www.cumbria.gov.uk/stopthespread.