Stoke-on-Trent now has 11th highest coronavirus infection rate in England as Normacot outbreak ‘stabilises’


Public health officials believe the Covid-19 outbreak in Normacot has ‘stabilised’ – despite Stoke-on-Trent now having one of the highest infection rates in the country.

Another nine people in Normacot tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend, with one further case on Monday, bringing the total number of cases recorded in the area since August 5 to 79.

The outbreak has been the main reason for Stoke-on-Trent’s rising weekly infection rate.

The city had the 11th highest rate in England for the seven-day period up to August 20, with 30.8 cases per 100,000 population.

But Stoke-on-Trent City Council officials say the number of daily new cases, both in Normacot and across the city, has now started to fall, meaning the seven-day rate will also begin to decrease.

The rolling seven-day total for Stoke-on-Trent fell from 73 on Friday, to 71 on Saturday, to 70 on Sunday. The equivalent rolling total for Normacot has fallen from 51 to 47.

Last week’s community testing in Normacot detected just two positive cases out of 195 tests.

Normacot residents queuing up to get tested at Alexandra Infants School

But the city council says the local outbreak is far from over, and council leaders are still calling on Normacot residents to avoid mixing with people from other households, and to stay home as much as possible. Most of the cases so far have been limited to a small number of streets.

Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “What we are seeing is a stabilisation of the figures both in Normacot and across the city.

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“In Normacot we’ve had 13 positive cases after testing 593 people at the walk-in testing station. This is a positive rate of around two per cent, which is what we wanted to see. It’s been a tremendous response from the community – to get nearly 600 people coming forward to be tested has been great.

“But we still need to get the same message out – if people are experiencing symptoms, however slight, they need to book a test at the bet365 Stadium.

“Most of the cases, if not quite all of them, have been in postcodes which we were already aware of having cases. There have been a couple of new postcodes. So it is still mostly household spread. That is why we don’t want mixing between different households.

The walk-in Covid-19 testing station at Alexandra Infants School in Normacot
The walk-in Covid-19 testing station at Alexandra Infants School in Normacot

“It seems that most people are following this guidance. If they weren’t we would start to see new cases in new streets in the Normacot area. In Normacot we are seeing local councillors and community leaders on the streets getting the message across, which has been brilliant to see.

“This isn’t over yet. We’re not just going to see the number of cases drop to zero within 24 hours. It’s going to come down gradually.”

Despite the recent spike in cases, Stoke-on-Trent has not been included in the government’s watchlist of outbreak-hit areas. This is mainly due to the fact that the recent surge in cases in Stoke-on-Trent has been largely limited to one area.

So far, none of the cases in Normacot have been serious, with no hospital admissions.

This is largely due to the fact that it has been mostly younger people who have been infected in the current outbreak. Just one person over the age of 65 has tested positive.

Mr Edmondson-Jones added: “Earlier on it was mostly older people who were being affected by coronavirus, with high rates of hospitalisation and quite a significant number of deaths in the city. But now it’s mainly working age people who are being infected, who generally do not have severe symptoms. There has only been one new hospital admission in the last couple of weeks, and no deaths.

“But this virus is constantly changing, and so there is always the possibility that it will start affecting older people again. That’s why we need to tackle new outbreaks.”

In addition to the specific guidance for Normacot, the city council is reminding everyone in the city to follow the general advice over mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing.

Residents can book coronavirus tests at the regional testing centre at the bet365 Stadium. It is located on Stanley Matthews Way, Trentham Lakes, ST4 4EG. Bookings can be made via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, or ringing 119, where help is available in other languages.





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