An MP is pushing to ensure Kirklees doesn’t get forced back into local restrictions despite having one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the country.
Rising infection rates in parts of Kirklees have led to increased surge testing and more vaccination sessions as the NHS battles to control the spread of the virus before the planned June 21 unlocking.
Colne Valley Tory MP Jason McCartney quizzed Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the House of Commons this week.
Mr McCartney said: “Although Covid cases remain above the national average across Kirklees thankfully hospitalisations and deaths remain low and locally my constituents are getting vaccinated and they are getting tested. Can the Health Secretary please confirm he will not reintroduce local restrictions?”
Mr Hancock was giving no direct assurances, however, and replied: “I am really glad to say that in Bolton and other parts of the country where we have sent in the big package of support, including surge testing, as we have in Kirklees, we have then seen a capping out of the increase in rates without a local lockdown thanks to the enthusiasm of people locally and, of course, the vaccination programme.
“It’s our goal is that England moves together and that’s what we are putting these programmes in place to do and we are seeing them work.”
Meanwhile, enhanced testing was launched in Kirklees on Tuesday. Surge testing was launched in Savile Town and Thornhill Lees in Dewsbury with council teams knocking on doors in the community.
This was extended to other parts of Dewsbury and also Batley, Heckmondwike and Liversedge.
Drop-in testing centres were set up in Honley, Savile Town and Batley. Around 2,000 PCR tests have been carried out through door-knocking with another 5,000 through schools. On Tuesday it was said 171 new positive cases had been identified and isolated as a result.
In Huddersfield PCR tests are available at: Percy Shaw House, also known as Queen Street Studios, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 3BB (everyday 8am-8pm); and at Honley Community Centre, Stony Lane, Honley, HD9 6DY (10am-4pm).
The council says door-to-door testing could be rolled out in other areas depending on the data.
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “Our infection rate is high and is still rising.
“We have also had a small number of cases of the variant, first detected in India, confirmed in the borough which we know spreads more easily.
“We are urging anyone who lives or works in Kirklees to play their part and visit one of our PCR testing centres and get tested. It’s quick, easy, painless and you’ll be playing a vital role in helping us to understand more about the way the virus is spreading in Kirklees.
“We are using PCR tests so that positive results can be sent to specialist laboratories where they can identify variants of concern, and see where they have spread.
“Thankfully, our number of hospital admissions and deaths related to Covid-19 remain low, but we all have to do what we can to make sure this remains the case. In Kirklees in the last week we had no deaths linked to the virus.
“In addition to taking part in our PCR surge testing and enhanced testing, there are a number of ways we all need to play our part to bring Kirklees’ infection rate down so we can safely continue to follow the roadmap out of lockdown.
“Every vaccination matters. We’re working with Government to increase our vaccine offer. The more people that take it, the safer we all are and the sooner we can get back to normality.”