Public health leaders urge caution as coronavirus case numbers have almost tripled in the past week in Warrington.

Indicative data shows that in the seven days up to 31 May, there were 46 new cases, compared to 16 in the previous week.

It is estimated some of these new positive cases are the Delta coronavirus variant, first identified in India, and the council is continuing to work closely with Public Health England and the NHS regarding all Variants of Concern (VOC) identified in the borough.

Although some restrictions have relaxed as part of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, continuing the basics of ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ is vital to stop the spread of COVID-19.

There are generally fewer COVID-related hospital admissions than earlier in the year, however hospitals are at full capacity owing to a backlog of other urgent cases.

Residents should use symptom-free testing twice a week as part of a regular routine – not just for if you are going out socialising or seeing family or friends. You should also record your results as soon as you have taken the test in the NHS COVID-19 app, no matter the result.

If you have any coronavirus symptoms at all, no matter how mild, you should self-isolate immediately and book an NHS (PCR) test via gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

If you think you may have been in contact with a positive coronavirus case, even if the case is not confirmed, you should also book to get a PCR test. When citing why you’ve booked a PCR test when booking, you should tick the option that says that the local authority has asked you to get a PCR test.

Thara Raj, Warrington's Director of Public Health, said: “The evidence is showing that in Warrington, COVID-19 cases appear to be quickly increasing. It’s important to remember the hands, face, space and fresh air rules are there for a reason, and that is because they’ve proven to be effective in lowering the number of coronavirus cases in our area.

“Simple steps like getting a regular test, self-isolating when you feel unwell and getting vaccinated when invited will help also to restrict any further transmission by isolating it at the source. It falls to every resident to act now and do what they can to stop the number of positive cases increasing any further."

Cabinet member for public health, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “We’re not out of the woods yet as the sudden increase in cases suggests.

“It’s widely reported that hospital capacity nationally is stretched, due to a backlog of other urgent medical cases, so it really is on all of us to do our bit to prevent COVID spreading and not overwhelm our urgent care services.

“We can’t forget about coronavirus, even more so after the restrictions have been eased, and we need everyone in Warrington to play their part in order to keep yourself and others safe, and bring this spike in infections back down.”

For more information on coronavirus in Warrington, visit: warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus.