HEALTH chiefs have urged Stratford residents not to become complacent as latest data shows the district has the highest Covid rate in the whole of the West Midlands.
According to new figures on the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire dashboard, Covid rates in parts of Warwickshire have topped the 200 mark.
But Stratford has the highest rate of all. Data for the seven days up to June 21 shows the rate in the district stood at 228.29 per 100,000 people – and the figure is most likely even higher as testing is no longer free.
Stratford’s Covid rate is in stark contrast to Sandwell, at the bottom of the table for all local areas in the region, where the rate stood at 111.74.
The news comes amid reports of a 30 per cent rise in Covid hospital admissions across the UK. Latest data shows just over 5,400 people were admitted with the virus in the past seven days – a rise of more than 1,200 compared to the previous week.
Stratford is not the only place in Warwickshire with a high rate. Neighbouring Warwick is second, with a rate of 202.43, and Rugby has the fourth highest rate at 189.10.
Health experts say new dominant strains Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 were driving the recent increase in infections in the West Midlands.
Katie Spence, deputy director at UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) West Midlands, told the Observer that while it had been a number of months since the easing of Covid restrictions, and people were enjoying some normality after a challenging two years, it was not the time to become complacent as the virus had not gone away.
She said: “We are fortunate that so far the rise in cases has not led to a significant increase in hospital admissions or deaths and this is down to the efficacy of the vaccine and the incredible efforts of people across the country getting vaccinated.
“We’ve learned so much in the last two years but as we move to living with Covid on a long-term basis, every one of us needs to remain vigilant, take precautions, and ensure that we’re up to date with our Covid-19 vaccinations.
“Let’s enjoy the summer and our regained freedoms but keep in mind that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away and we all need to do our bit to live safely.”