First Minister: “Case rates amongst under-25s in Flintshire seven times higher than those aged over 60”
The number of Covid cases amongst under-25s in Flintshire is “seven times higher” than amongst those aged over 60, Mark Drakeford has said.
During today’s press briefing Mr Drakeford said the Delta variant was now “spreading freely in communities right across Wales.”
The surge in cases is being driven by the Delta variant which the first minister said, is “between 40 and 80 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) variant that was responsible for the majority of cases during the last peak in the winter.”
“Last Friday in Wales there were just under 500 confirmed cases of the Delta variant, today, the very latest available figures show that that number has more than doubled to around 1100 cases.” He said.
The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that Flintshire recorded a further 36 Covid cases in the past 24 hours.
The rolling seven-day case rate per 100,000 population in Flintshire is now the highest in Wales at 110, double that of neighbouring Wrexham.
Data shows there has been a 102 per cent increase in Covid cases amongst the under 25 age group in Flintshire in the last seven days.
Flintshire’s Test, Trace and Protect team has said it has “noted a growing number of Coronavirus cases in the Flint area.”
Additional testing capacity is being drafted into Flint from Monday with a walk-in and drive-through testing centre opening at Chapel Street Car Park, Castle Heights.
- Coronavirus cases rising fastest in under 25s with early optimism vaccines are “slowing the spread” of the virus in other age groups
Flint High School has was forced to cancel a year 11 awards ceremony and BBQ on Thursday following a ‘directive’ from Public Health Wales and Flintshire County Council.
However, a large funfair which has set up opposite the school will be permitted to open over the weekend.
Headteacher Mr Jim Connolly said on social media: “For those who have asked. ‘why no year 11 BBQ but a fair opposite school is allowed?’ VERY good question. I have no idea.”
Andy Farrow, Chief Officer of Planning, Environment and Economy at Flintshire Council said the funfair “does not require our permission to take place as they are permitted under the current Alert level in Wales.”
We asked the First Minister if local changes to alert levels could be implemented in Wales – using Flintshire as an example – to take into account spikes in cases, Mr Drakeford said:
“I remain of the view that as far as we can, it is better to have single systems in place across the whole of Wales.”
“Does that mean that we have ruled out using localised measures particularly when local authorities think that that would be advantageous? No, we haven’t.”
People going to the funfair in Flint are being urged to get a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before they go, but only if they are not displaying any coronavirus symptoms.
Mr Drakeford said: “The use of lateral flow devices is a new part of our armoury.”
“We are using enhanced levels of community testing in some parts of Wales already and we are doing other things that have a local impact.”
LFT kits will also be available from the Flint Connects office on Church Street and kits will be available at the funfair site for its duration.
It’s understood the Welsh Ambulance Service will be at the funfair site providing LFT services to the general public.
On vaccination, the first minister said there is “positive research evidence emerging that despite the speed at which the Delta variant is spreading, vaccination is helping to prevent serious illnesses.”
“That is why we are working so hard to focus our vaccination programme on getting as many people as possible to have two doses of the vaccine during the four weeks in which we have paused any further changes to restrictions.” He said.
Mr Drakeford said: “Take up rates in Wales have been fantastic and overall people have been really enthusiastic about the vaccine.”
“We’re seeing some small signs now though of hesitancy, lower numbers coming forward in people in the age 30 to 39.”
“Health boards are working hard to make clinics and appointments as flexible as possible, as close to people’s homes and work as possible. ”
“It’s very important that employers give staff the time off they need to go and be vaccinated when they are invited to be so.” He said.