The Covid-19 infection rate in Kirklees is currently the highest in the country after a 22% rise in cases in the last week.

Kirklees Council is urging everyone to play their part in preventing the spread of the virus and to join more than 200,000 local people who have now had their first vaccine dose.

With 71 people per 100,000 in Kirklees testing positive for Covid-19 over the last seven days, the borough’s infection rate is now the highest in England.

There were 316 new confirmed positive cases in the last week in Kirklees, an increase of 22% on last week when there were 257.

The number of deaths in local hospitals related to Covid-19 was four, an increase from one last week. Although the number of people being treated with the virus in those hospitals remains at 16 – no change on last week.

More than 203,000 people in Kirklees have now had at least their first Covid-19 vaccine dose and 96,000 of those have had their second.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “Rates of infection have been reducing in Kirklees over recent months but they have increased in the last week and are currently the highest in England.

We can’t ignore our position in the league table and the threat the virus continues to pose.

Get the jab when it’s offered is the message from Kirklees Council

“We need to bring our infection rate down further, particularly with more restrictions now eased and people more likely to come into contact with different households.

“We have to work together even harder to reduce infection rates and understand that there’s no room for complacency.

“Council staff are out in the community talking to local people and businesses every day about how they can play their part to reduce the spread of the infection.

“We are delivering community testing for thousands of residents each week and our local contact tracing is helping to contain the spread.

“We are also working with our partners in the NHS to arrange pop-up vaccination clinics and our Community Champions are making sure everyone has the right advice and access to their vaccination. In line with restrictions lifting, we’re continuing to work closely with businesses and venues to support them to reopen safely.

“There are some simple steps we can all take to make sure we build on the progress we’ve made over the past few months and bring infections down further. There are three things I’m asking everyone to do over the next few weeks. Keeping doing the basics, stay safe outdoors and get vaccinated.

Keep doing the basics means; continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and make sure you’re social distancing when you’re out. Getting tested regularly, or if you have symptoms, is another important way to keep our community safe.

It’s safer outdoors – we can now enjoy more freedoms, including meeting people outside our household. There’s much less chance of passing on the virus when you’re outside but please remember to stick to the public health advice.

When it’s your turn, please take the vaccine – if you’re over 40, you can book your appointment right now. The vaccine is safe, effective and protects both you and your community. Almost 300,000 vaccinations have now been administered in Kirklees and the programme is successfully bringing down the number of people needing hospital treatment.

“The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for so many reasons and has had a significant impact on everyone in some way.

“I want to thank all of you for everything you have done in keeping yourself and others safe for such a long time. Your efforts over the past few months mean that we now have many more reasons to be hopeful.

“By following the guidance and getting vaccinated, you have helped to bring down the number of people getting seriously ill with the virus. The sacrifices you have made also mean we can look forward to regaining more freedoms as we follow the government’s roadmap.

“By working together, we can bring our infection rates down again, ease pressure on our health services and finally get our lives back to normal. Thank you for playing your part.”

If you’re vulnerable and need support, please visit Kirklees Council’s website or call 0800 4561114.