The Covid-19 infection rate has risen by 35% in Kirklees in the last week and surge testing and increased capacity for vaccinations will be introduced shortly.

The infection rate remains among the highest in the country and Kirklees Council has confirmed a “small number” of the so-called Indian variant.

The council says that with 72 people per 100,000 in Kirklees testing positive for Covid-19 over the last seven days, the borough’s infection rate has increased by 35% since last week. The national average is 21 people per 100,000.

Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, deaths and hospitalisations have been steadily falling and are remaining at a much lower level.

There were no deaths in local hospitals related to Covid-19, down from one last week. There were 13 people admitted to those hospitals in that time, up from five last week.

READ MORE: Cases of Indian variant found in Huddersfield

Around 225,000 local people have had their first vaccine dose and 139,000 of those have received their second. By speeding up the delivery of the vaccine in Kirklees, and adding more pop-up clinics where they’re needed most, infection rates can be reduced.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “Rates of infection in Kirklees have been rising in recent weeks and there are concerns nationally about the new variant which was first detected in India.

READ MORE: ‘Get the jab’ is urgent message to people in Kirklees

“There is no evidence to suggest this variant causes more severe illness than any other variant currently circulating in the UK, but it is understood to spread more easily.

“We’ve isolated all the cases of the variant which we’ve identified locally, but we can’t take any chances and we need to take further action.

“Surge testing is a really effective way of detecting and isolating cases and we’re working hard to start this in Kirklees and will announce details early next week.

“We will continue to work with government and partners in the NHS to increase vaccine take up and how we can support residents more to isolate. In the meantime, I’m urging everyone in Kirklees to be extra cautious and stick to the public guidance.

“Deaths and hospitalisations related to the virus remain at a low level in Kirklees with our successful start to the vaccine rollout having an impact. But we have to make sure our infection rate does not continue to increase and lead to these numbers rising too.

“We all need to continue to play our part so we can get Kirklees through the roadmap out of lockdown safely.”