Covid-19 infection rates continue to come down in Kirklees but are still not falling quickly enough, according to health chiefs.

With 173 per 100,000 people in Kirklees testing positive for Covid-19 over the last seven days, the borough’s rates have now moved above the national average of 137 per 100,000.

There were 764 new confirmed positive cases in the last week in Kirklees – this is lower than last week when it was 888 – but shows infection rates are dropping at a slower pace than most parts of England.

More than 90% of these cases were of the Kent variant, which has shown to be spread more easily.

There were 84 Kirklees people admitted to local hospitals with Covid-19 over the last week, which has dropped from 102 last week.

There are currently 150 patients from Kirklees in local hospitals with Covid-19 which is lower than week, when it was 188, but remains high.

There were sadly 23 Covid-19 related deaths in the last week – which has increased from 22 the previous week.

Over-65s are now being called for vaccinations in Kirklees

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “We can see across the country the impact lockdown restrictions are having, with infection rates falling.

“Unfortunately, our rates are not dropping as quickly as they need to. It means we’ve now moved above the national average for the first time since December.

“We do have a large number of critical workers in Kirklees, due to the types of industries we have operating in the borough, and we’re working hard with local businesses and organisations to prevent outbreaks.

“The Kent variant now accounts for the majority of our new cases. The fact this variant is more easily spread, further supports the need for everyone to continue to be vigilant and to do everything possible to stay safe.

“We need to see infection rates drop so we can save lives and ease pressure on health services. By following all the guidance in place, you can help to do this.

“The best thing you can do to protect your family and community is to stay at home. Only leave your home for essential reasons and for exercise and don’t mix with other households.

“Please remember that the basics – such as hand-washing, social-distancing, wearing a face covering and getting tested if you have symptoms – are still a key way we can reduce infections.

“The vaccine rollout is continuing to be a success and the uptake is fantastic. You will be contacted when it’s your turn to receive the vaccine, but please be patient as the most at risk are prioritised. “The vaccine gives us hope as we move forward, but in the meantime please continue to do all you can to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Thank you once again for playing your part during these difficult times.”

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