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IN CRISIS: Covid cases ‘disturbingly high’ claims Calderdale leader

IN CRISIS: Covid cases ‘disturbingly high’ claims Calderdale leader

A map of covid rates in Calderdale, Image, Gov.uk website

A West Yorkshire leader has claimed schools and hospitals in the region are “already in crisis”, as a new wave of Covid cases takes hold of parts of the region.

On Thursday, the UK recorded more than 52,000 new Covid-19 cases, the highest number of new cases in one day since July, while health experts have urged the Government to take action to avoid a winter NHS crisis.

Leader of Calderdale Council Tim Swift (Lab) warned that the hit to the NHS had already happened, and that some hospitals were seeing around a tenth of beds taken up by Covid-19 patients.

He added that Government’s Covid guidance had “encouraged a spread” of the disease in schools, and that his council had to issue extra guidance on keeping children off school to contain the spread of the virus among pupils.

The comments were made during a full meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), a regional decision-making body which looks after transport and large infrastructure projects.

Coun Swift said: “Case rates in Calderdale are disturbingly high, and have been high for several months now.

“We have recently issued advice to schools that they should look more carefully at rules around social distancing, and encouraging parents to keep children off school when there are cases in the family, which is not in the Government guidance.

“The current rules around schools have encouraged a spread, and that is quite damaging and difficult.”

He added: “The current levels we are seeing in some schools in Calderdale are actually quite as disruptive as if we had a more sensible approach to the requirements about children staying off school and testing.

“This situation is already creating real serious challenges for the NHS. The NHS is facing a crisis now and that is having an impact on being able to treat other patients.

“Ten percent of beds are taken up by patients with Covid – that has a knock-on effect on capacity. The situation and pressures on the NHS are serious and we should not underestimate the impact.”

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said: “It seems to me that the public seems like it’s over. We need to make the case more clearly that we are heading for a crisis in our hospitals.”


Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter

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