ST HELENS’ director of public health has warned the public not to get complacent, as coronavirus infection rates creep up in Merseyside and the wider region.

The weekly infection rate in St Helens is now the lowest in the North West, but across the way in Liverpool there has been a rapid rise in infections.

This has led to public health chiefs taking urgent action in the worst affected areas.

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Tighter restrictions have also been put in place in Greater Manchester, including neighbouring Wigan, in response to a worrying surge in cases.

And figures published by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases this week show the crucial ‘R’ number is estimated to be 1.1 in the North West and nationally.

If the reproduction number is higher than one, then the number of cases increases exponentially.

As of Wednesday,  August 5, a total of 1,210 people have tested positive for coronavirus in St Helens, according to Public Health England.

It is not known what the R value is in St Helens, but the weekly infection rate, based on 100,000 population has provided a positive outlook for the borough.

Between July 29 to August 4, the weekly rate in St Helens dropped to 1.1 – the lowest in the North West.

Despite this, Sue Forster, St Helens Borough Council’s director of public health, has warned the public that all the good work to push the infection rate down could be undone if they do not continue to follow coronavirus guidance.

St Helens Star: Sue Forster, director of public health for St Helens Borough CouncilSue Forster, director of public health for St Helens Borough Council

She said: “We’re glad to see St Helens Borough achieve such a low rate of infection recently, at a weekly incidence rate of 1.1 per 100,000 people from July 29 to August 4, making us the lowest in the North West.

“That’s thanks to local people adhering to national guidance, practicing regular hand washing and social distancing, wearing face coverings in the required settings, and getting tested if they have symptoms.

“It’s also thanks to the hard work of our partners in St Helens CCG, in St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, the teams delivering test and trace locally, and all the local businesses that are supporting the necessary restrictions and operating in a safe manner.

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“But we cannot be complacent. Rates could easily rise in St Helens Borough and it may be that we are behind the curve of neighbouring areas.

“And as we have seen in other parts of the region and the country, restrictions can be reintroduced where rates appear to increase.

“Please continue to follow the rules and be considerate to others, so we can all enjoy the greater freedoms of lockdown easing.”

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