Council plays its part to halt Covid infections in Fens hotspot

Council leader Chris Boden: 'There are lots of people in frontline industries and meeting up with each other in the work place in large numbers, so we have a great susceptibility to transmission.'

Council leader Chris Boden: 'There are lots of people in frontline industries and meeting up with each other in the work place in large numbers, so we have a great susceptibility to transmission.' - Credit: Archant

Seven people died in Fenland in the six days to February 20 within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus.  

The Government released figures come after a week in which was revealed that Wisbech North has been a Covid-19 hotspot. 

It recorded the second highest number of cases per 100,000 people of anywhere in the country.

  

Wisbech North ranks second place in the whole country in coronavirus cases per 100,000, clocking 782.3, just under South Cave, Newbald & Little Weighton.   

In the seven days, up to February 12, 89 coronavirus cases were recorded in Wisbech North; also, in the top 10 was Wisbech South. 


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Fenland Council leader Chris Boden believes part of the reason could be the number of factories in the district.  

“We have a far greater number than average of people who are working in food processing and packing industries, particularly in the area and around Wisbech,” he told the BBC. 

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“Our granular data is showing it’s in that area around Wisbech we have a problem and that it’s heavily concentrated in the workplace or travelling to and from work in shared transport.  

“It’s central jobs that need to be done by a large number of individuals and we have to respect the fact they are turning up for work, from working in hospitals to a food packing factory.  

“What we are doing is to increase the amount of work we are doing to try and drive and identify individuals who are infected and increase lateral flow tests from two days a week, to five days a week.”  

He added: “If you are in an area where people are in white-collared jobs and doing their work mostly from home, they don’t have the same amount of personal contact as we have here in Fenland, especially around Wisbech.  

“There are lots of people in frontline industries and meeting up with each other in the work place in large numbers, so we have a great susceptibility to transmission.”  

Cllr Boden wants to ramp up rapid testing and offer more money for people to self-isolate in bid to drive down transmission rates. 

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, urged Fenland residents to take further action to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

She said: "We are continuing to see a high number of our older and potentially more vulnerable residents with the infection, as well as high transmission rates amongst working age people and in households. 

"So, it is vital that we all take action now to reduce the number of people catching the virus. 

"I know it's hard but please, follow the lockdown rules. Stay at home as much as possible and only go out for essential reasons. 

"When you do have to go out and may come into contact with people you don't live with, keep two metres away from them, avoid crowded or poorly ventilated areas, wash or sanitise your hands regularly and wear a face covering where this is required." 

UPDATE: 37 new people had a confirmed positive test result reported on 20 February 2021. 

Between 14 February 2021 and 20 February 2021, 201 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows a decrease of 25 per cent compared to the previous 7 days. 


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