Oadby and Wigston’s coronavirus infection rate is “comparable” to that in Bradford – an area hotly tipped to go into a local lockdown – according to Leicestershire’s public health director.
A high number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the area, and the area’s infection rate, both contributed to Oadby and Wigston postcodes being included in the Leicester lockdown, according to county council chiefs.
Mike Sandys, director of public health at Leicestershire County Council, last week said that the Oadby and Wigston Borough Council area was of “concern”.
Since then, more detailed data – relating to cases confirmed up to July 4 – has been released, backing up his concerns.
“The rate of cases in Oadby and Wigston is 712 per 100,000 population. That is lower than the city figure (1,116 per 100,000 population) but significantly higher than the county average (431 per 100,000) and also significantly higher than the national and East Midlands averages,” he said.
“It is also comparable with areas such as Rotherham and Bradford – which aren’t in lockdown but have been reported as possibly being next if things don’t change.
“This data has only started coming through comparatively recently and enables us to understand better where we need to focus our efforts.”
Asked about figures in Oadby and Wigston, Mr Sandys said: “Generally those districts with a border with the city have, since the start of the pandemic had higher rates than others.
“Oadby’s proximity to the city will be a contributing factor, other things might be the fact that there is a high BAME population and a higher percentage of care homes.
“There is a pretty good reason for including Oadby and Wigston. Put simply, that reason is that its rates are higher than the rest of the county.
“People might look at the infection rate and think that it’s nowhere near as high as the city, but then you look at the rest of the county and it is significantly higher than other areas.”
He added: “Leicestershire has moved from a position of being well below the national average, to one where we are now comparable. It suggests that the level of infection is failing to fall as far or as fast as other areas – there is more ‘tinder’ in Leicestershire than elsewhere and we need to take action to dampen it down.”
All residents in Leicestershire are being asked to book a test if they have symptoms, online at www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.