Residents, school pupils and families are urged to protect themselves and those around them as coronavirus cases in Warrington are at the highest level since July.

Indicative data shows that in the seven days up to 15 October, there were 1,333 new confirmed cases, with a seven day case rate of 636.6 per 1,000. This rate is higher than England (447.9 per 100,000) and the North West (460.7 per 100,000).

Case rates are still highest in the South of Warrington, with Appleton, Lymm South, Lymm North, and Thelwall having the highest rates. However, there has also been rapid increases in case rates for those living in Latchford East.

COVID cases are also particularly high in school aged children, with those aged 10 to 19 years currently having the highest case rate of 1,953.3 per 100,000, which is substantially higher than the other age groups. The next highest age band is people aged 40 to 49, with a case rate of 911.8 per 100,000.

What you can do to help protect yourself and those around you?

Remember the basics of protecting yourself and others that have been used throughout the pandemic such as maintaining social distancing where possible and wearing a face covering if appropriate. Washing your hands, taking symptom-free tests regularly, and keeping a source of fresh air open when indoors all remain the simplest and most important things you can do to stop the spread of the virus.

Testing regularly when you have no symptoms and self-isolating and getting an NHS PCR test when you do have symptoms will also help to stop the spread of infection in your local neighbourhood. Those taking symptom-free lateral flow tests should also register their tests online via GOV.UK.

Students are being reminded to continue to test themselves regularly throughout half term, and before they return to school after the break, to help reduce the high level of cases in people this age.

Be aware of other winter illnesses as well as COVID

As flu and the winter bug season is now upon us, we also need to be mindful of other minor illnesses alongside COVID-19. Hand sanitiser is not effective on some winter bugs such as Norovirus, so washing your hands often with soap and water is still key, especially if you are leaving your home more for work, school, and to meet others.

Residents are also being reminded to top up their immunity this winter, as vaccines are the best protection we have against dangerous viruses like flu and COVID-19. If you are eligible for a free flu or COVID-19 booster vaccination, you can book yours on the NHS website.

Warrington’s Director of Public Health, Thara Raj, said: “While we’re hoping that this half-term week will act as a circuit breaker for the rise in cases in school aged children, this is unlikely.

“We are in an outbreak situation in Warrington therefore we are asking that all pupils take regular symptom-free tests at home, and also take a test before they come back to school, as we’re seeing a spike in cases in all school aged children including primary school aged children.

“By taking these measures, we will help to keep our pupils not only safe from COVID-19, but also keep them in school where they will be able to continue to learn without any disruptions to their education.”

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