The omicron variant of Covid-19 is now the predominant one circulating in communities. As levels of transmission has been high the Welsh Government has, to date, not altered the current restrictions that remain within our communities. However positive signs of reductions in spread means that an announcement of changes will be made later today, which will relax some of the restrictions as long as things continue to improve in the coming days and weeks.
We remain hopeful that as an area and a country that the peak of the current wave of infections has now been passed and that we will see spread continue to reduce. Whilst this variant has proven to be less damaging to the health of the nation it remains a threat. As the position improves our goal will be to report on the positive steps Wrexham as an area can and will be taking towards recovery in the coming months.
DATA ON THE VIRUS
PLEASE NOTE: Since 6th January, people with a positive LFT test, but no symptoms, have not had to take a PCR test to confirm if they have Covid-19 (https://gov.wales/written-statement-prioritising-pcr-testing). As PCR test results make up all the data reported in these briefing notes and LFT test results may not be reported to the same extent, the data suggesting a sudden drop in cases during the week ending 9th January cannot be relied upon. For this reason we will cease reporting these statistics after today unless arrangements alter. The signs are good, but, for the moment, the only true indicators of the spread and severity of the disease are hospital admissions and deaths; the other data will only be able to be used to compare rates after a few weeks of using the mix of LFT/PCR data.
TABLE 1: Covid-19 in the County Borough as a whole compared to other Councils in North Wales
OMICRON IS RISING VERY RAPIDLY IN WREXHAM AND THROUGHOUT NORTH WALES: GET A JAB!
- The 7-day rate for cases reported today is 1366.6/100,000 population. For the week ending 2nd January (when data were from PCR test results) it was 1/100,000 population, which is the worst is has been since the pandemic began in 2020, twice the 1096 reported two weeks ago and more than 3 times the 602 reported four weeks ago.
- Positivity (the indicator of community transmission) was 7%, compared to 38.7% two weeks ago and 18.8% four weeks ago, indicating extremely rapid community transmission.
- Wrexham’s relative position in Wales for cases per 100k population is 8th, compared to 16th two weeks ago and 2nd four weeks ago. Wrexham is 6th for positivity, compared to 3rd two weeks ago and 4th four weeks ago.
- The Omicron variant is the dominant strain, having displaced Delta.
- Local community transmission in households, then social contacts is the driver of infection, as has been the case for many months, but it is now at a very much higher rate.
- The highest rate of infection is amongst the 20-29 age group (a change from the previous six months when it was the under 20s), but it is growing rapidly in the over 60s which is having a knock-on effect on hospital admissions.
- Hospital admissions (122) have doubled in four weeks, but with deaths (4) thankfully still remain low compared to Waves 1, 2 and 3 of the pandemic, supporting evidence that the vaccine and booster are highly effective – there is a very much higher chance of being admitted to hospital and intensive care (ICU) if you have not been vaccinated or received a booster.
- The BOOSTER JAB is crucial for reducing severity, hospitalisation and death.
- Working from home where possible and wearing a mask remain the law under the Level 2 Alert, though 500 people will be allowed to gather outside, from tomorrow and Welsh Government may relax other regulations in a fortnight’s time.
TABLE 2: Covid-19 in the Sub-Areas of Wrexham (18 MSOA areas used by PHW in its Tableau)
- There has been extremely rapid community transmission of the Omicron variant in every part of the County Borough.
- For the week ending 6th January (the last date when data were from PCR test results) all of the sub-areas had more than 1000/100,000 population, compared to 15 two weeks ago and 0 four weeks ago.
- All of the sub-areas had seen their highest rates per 100k since the pandemic first began in 2020, compared to 10 two weeks ago and 0 four weeks ago, meaning that Omicron has surpassed the peak of infection experienced in January 2021.
- 3 of the sub-areas had seen an improvement since two weeks ago (though this cannot be relied upon for the reason outlined in the introduction); all the others have got a lot worse, despite the change in data reporting arrangements.
- There are cases of Covid in many schools and in some care homes.
- The only way out of this is to follow the rules in Wales (IT IS THE LAW) AND GET YOUR VACCINATIONS NOW and a BOOSTER as soon as you are eligible.
The education department are grateful to all our pupils, parents and staff for their commitment to ensuring our schools are safe for everyone and we will continue to support them as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
Some schools are and will be affected by cases and arrangements are in place to contain the virus to stop the spread at an early stage in all our schools. Should any incidents be identified in our schools we have in place tried and tested arrangements to ensure that pupils can continue with their education with minimum disruption and parents will be kept informed of any changes that may have to be put in place for a short length of time.
We are encouraging all secondary pupils and staff to take regular LFT tests three times a week and to report the result, to wear a face mask and regularly wash or sanitise hands.
Please remain careful as you go about you daily lives
Welsh Government continues to advise everyone to follow these five measures to stay safe:
- Get vaccinated – and if you’ve had your booster appointment, please make this your priority.
- If you’re going out, going shopping or visiting people – flow before you go. Take a lateral flow test. If it’s positive – don’t go out.
- Meeting outdoors is better than indoors. If you’re meeting indoors make sure it’s well ventilated.
- Space out your socialising – if you’ve got lots of events arranged, please leave at least a day between events.
- And don’t forget about social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands.
You can also pick them up from:
Chirk Leisure Centre
Gwyn Evans Leisure Centre