Council leaders in Covid hotspot issue joint statement on rising infection rates

By Corrie David

Council leaders in a part of Wales where Covid cases have risen sharply are urging people to take precautions.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board between September 1 and 8 was a whopping 3,249 - a 1,000 more compared with the previous week.

Given the increase, Cwm Taf health bosses made the difficult decision to close the hospitals to visitors, unless in extenuating circumstances.

Officials in Rhondda Cynon Taf , Merthyr Tydfil , and Bridgend have now come together to issue a joint statement to urge residents to respect the new rules and heed the warning signs.

Bridgend Council leader Huw David said:“The pandemic is far from over, our social care services are under massive pressure, and we all want our children to be able to attend school safely, so we must make every effort to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, and help to keep our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues safe.”

Wales' latest Covid infection rate is currently 522.7 cases for every 100,000 people in the last week (August 30 to September 5). This is up on the 501.8 reported on Thursday, September 9, which was the day infection rate rose above 500 for the first time since January 4 this year.

And earlier this week it was reported that are now more people in intensive care with coronavirus in Wales than there were when it announced a firebreak lockdown last year.

The three council bosses' decision to issue a joint statement together comes amid growing pressure on the local health board.

Merthyr Tydfil Council leader Lisa Mytton said given the rise in cases people need to be aware of the symptoms of Covid.

She added: “With Covid restrictions lifting if we do not work together then this will have an inevitable impact on social care and our health boards. As schools have now returned, we need to be more vigilant and look after one another and make sure we still adhere to the government’s guidelines as they change. Coronavirus has not gone away.”

Read more: Third wave of Covid will peak this month with large number of hospitalisations warns First Minister Mark Drakeford

That message was also echoed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council leader Andrew Morgan: “It is vitally important that we continue to exercise the basic safeguards of hands, face and space and importantly good ventilation. By getting vaccinated we can all reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid 19 and when experiencing symptoms, it is vital to get a test. By playing our part as individuals, we can ensure Wales’ Covid 19 alert level remains at zero.”

They stressed that free home-testing kits remain available, and anyone who is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus can access a range of mobile testing facilities – visit the Welsh Government website for more details about how you can arrange this.

As well as a rise in Covid cases,earlier in the week, Cwm Taf Health Board announced they were closing a minor injuries unit at a hospital following staff shortages.

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