Covid rates almost triple across Oxfordshire - but Banbury continues to be classed as 'nearly Covid-free'
People in Oxfordshire are being urged to continue to follow public health guidance as the number of cases in the county have risen significantly in recent days.
A total of 146 cases were recorded in Oxfordshire in the seven days up to May 28 compared to 58 in the week up to May 21. This equates to 21.1 cases per 100,000 compared to 8.4 cases per 100,000 the week before.
While figures show Covid cases on the rise across the county all of Banbury continues to be classed as 'nearly Covid-free,' which means there were fewer than three Covid cases reported for the area.
The Government does not offer more data for areas that have seen fewer than three cases, saying that they are too low to record. And now all six of the Banbury ward areas are classed as 'nearly Covid-free' with fewer than three cases for each area.
The whole of the Banburyshire area is also now classed as 'nearly Covid-free' except for one area in Brackley North, which had three Covid cases for the the seven days up to May 28.
Many areas are now seeing single figure numbers of cases, as lockdown restrictions and the vaccine programme take effect.
But health bosses are urging people to stick to the restrictions and maintain social distancing.
Ansaf Azhar, director for public health in Oxfordshire, said: “Throughout the country we are seeing cases go up, and Oxfordshire is no exception.
"To some degree it was expected that there would be an increase when lockdown was further eased. However, now that cases are clearly on the rise, it serves as a reminder that the virus is still very much in circulation.
“We have vaccinated significant numbers of people, but by no means all of the population. The new variant of concern that was first identified in India is now present in Oxfordshire, with over two dozen cases reported as of 27 May. This is being closely monitored as is the overall case rate in the county.
“While we want people to enjoy their new-found freedoms, it is important that they keep themselves and others safe. Make sure you remember the basics – from washing your hands regularly to keeping your distance.
"And alongside the mantra of ‘hands, face, space’, fresh air is key. So now that summer is here, do take advantage of the warm weather and meet people outdoors where you can. It is indoors where COVID particularly has a field day.
“We continue to urge people to take up the offer of a vaccine when it is made and to regularly get tested through the many options available. Both of those things help counter the spread of the virus.
“With so many people having now been vaccinated, we are making incremental progress against COVID-19. But the virus is constantly evolving - as we can see from the rapid spread of the new variant - plus a significant proportion of people are not yet vaccinated or have only had their first dose. So we all need to continue to be careful.
“I’ve asked people to continue to be cautious and use their common sense so many times over the past 15 months that I am sure people are fed up of hearing it. However, that message applies now every bit as much as it did back in March 2020 when the pandemic first hit.
“Let’s do all we can to keep cases under control. We have more weapons at our disposal now than ever before, but common sense and discipline remain central to combatting the virus. I would ask people to continue to deploy both so that we can keep Oxfordshire open and keep our communities safe.”
Covid case rates by district:
Cherwell: 8.6 per 100,000
Oxford 26.2 per 100,000
South Oxfordshire 28.9 per 100,000
Vale of White Horse 27.2 per 100,000
West Oxfordshire 13.6 per 100,000