North Somerset Covid case rate at its highest

Lady wearing face mask during coronavirus pandemic

Council leaders are urging people to stay home where possible to stop cases rising in North Somerset. - Credit: Pixabay

People in North Somerset have been urged to take precautions as the number of Covid cases in the area reach their highest ever following a lab mix up which sent out false-negative PCR test results.

As it stands, the South West has the highest infection rate of any region in the UK and North Somerset's seven-day case rate stands above both the regional and national average.

Government data shows 188 new people had a confirmed positive test result reported on October 25, with one death within the last 28 days of a positive test.

Between October 19 and 25, 1,896 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows an increase of 23.8 per cent compared to the previous 7 days.

Mike Bell.

Cllr Mike Bell stated that 'lives must not be put at risk' as cases rise. - Credit: Sub

Cllr Mike Bell said: "It is very concerning to see our rates climbing again when everyone has been working so hard to protect themselves and their loved ones.

"I am also really frustrated to hear the government confirm that they have no plans to tighten restrictions in England. This situation must not be allowed to escalate. Lives must not be put at risk.

"I am very disappointed that there has been a failure in the testing programme which will have impacted on rates of infection in our community and potentially caused more harm.

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"I urge the government to review how the quality of all laboratories is monitored and we wait to see a report on this incident and how further failures will be prevented."

Lab error leads to North Somerset's highest Covid case rate.

The council's public health director believes a lab error has led to North Somerset's highest ever Covid case rate. - Credit: North Somerset Council

PCR test samples submitted from September 8 to October 12 had been impacted by an 'isolated incident' which may have resulted in 43,000 people receiving false-negative results.

The council's director for public health has advised that residents continue to wear face coverings and regularly take lateral flow tests at home to prevent infections from rising.

Matt Lenny told the Mercury and Times: "Now that people's day to day activities are no longer constrained by as many official coronavirus measures, it has never been more important for everyone to take personal responsibility to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

"The recent issue of the false-negative PCR test results will inevitably mean that people living in North Somerset will have unknowingly passed the infection on to others, and this will have contributed to us reaching our highest case rates ever seen.

"The recent issue of the false negative PCR test results from the Wolverhampton testing lab will inevitably mean that people living in North Somerset will have unknowingly passed the infection on to others, and this will have contributed to us reaching our highest case rates ever seen locally.

"The best actions everyone can take are to wear a mask in crowded indoor settings, meet outside where possible, keep up the frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds and socially distance.

"Added to that, regular home testing using lateral flow test kits will help to identify new cases and I encourage everyone to test regularly whether they have symptoms or not."

To access lateral flow tests, visit www.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk

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