Face masks back in at schools as Covid cases soar in Crewe and neighbouring towns

  Posted: 13.10.21 at 17:47 by Gwyn Griffiths

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FACE masks and other measures have been reintroduced in schools in areas of Cheshire East where Covid cases have soared.

As well as insisting on the wearing of masks in communal areas there will be reduced mixing in assemblies and additional testing facilities are to be put in place by Cheshire East Council depending on infection rates.

The measures come as coronavirus rates have reached their highest level in Cheshire East since the start of the pandemic

The number of positive cases in Cheshire East recorded as a rolling seven-day rate was 562 per 100,000 population last Friday (October 8).

Today 334 people tested positive for the virus in the borough and in the past week there have been 2,390 cases. Ten people have died in the last seven days and the Mid Cheshire Hospitals Trust - which runs Leighton Hospital - reported that there were 45 people being treated for Covid on October 5.

The Cheshire East rate is significantly higher than the rate per 100,000 population in England of 372.6, while there are several areas, including Sandbach and Alsager, where the number of cases per 100,000 has now soared over 1,000.

Covid rates (shaded black) are highest in Leighton and in parts of Sandbach and Alsager.

The highest rate of Covid cases in Crewe was in Leighton (800) where there were 50 recorded cases in the seven days up to October 8.

Cheshire East Council leader Sam Corcoran says that while hospitalisations remain low action needs to be taken to prevent cases from rising further as winter approaches with the potential for major disruption to schools and care homes.

The council is urging people get tested at least twice a week and complete their vaccinations.

Dr Matt Tyrer, director of public health at Cheshire East Council, said: “The advice now is that we all need to take precautions to help stop the spread. We must go back to following the basics of what we all know – hands, space, face and fresh air.

“Getting vaccinated whether that is your first, second, booster or flu jab is safe and the most effective way at keeping you from getting seriously ill, preventing hospitalisation and even death.

“Maintaining a regular lateral flow testing regime at least twice a week is really important and can help to identify early transmission. We know more than a third of people who test positive do not have any symptoms."

Meanwhile, the council has written to parents and carers of children at schools and colleges explaining the temporary measures that are being introduced with immediate effect.

The letter sets out that where one person in a household tests positive, children and young people from that household should limit their social contacts, arrange for a PCR test and should not attend school or college for a minimum of five days.

The school measures include wearing face masks in communal areas and classrooms depending on the number of cases and reduced mixing in assemblies and other indoor activities across year groups.

A vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-old pupils has been started by the immunisation team from Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Tyrer added: "Successful implementation of the vaccination of young people in this age group will be a key factor in reducing positive cases and transmission."

Cheshire East Council Director of Education Jacky Forster said: “We will continue to monitor the case numbers in schools and other education settings and will step down these temporary measures as soon as infection rates start to reduce.

“We want to emphasise our commitment to minimising disruption in schools and these measures are being introduced, so we can ensure the safety of children and staff, maximise attendance, reduce transmission and ensure schools remain open.”

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