Too much socialising blamed for ‘serious concern’ about Carmarthenshire’s rising Covid-19 infections

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The current coronavirus infection rate in Carmarthenshire is a matter of “serious concern” according to the local council, as daily cases in the county continue to rise.

The council has issued a stark warning that people are flouting the latest rules in the county, with contact tracing data showing a rise in cases appears to be linked to close contact between friends and family members.

There are now more people in hospital throughout Carmarthenshire with Covid-19 than at any other point during the pandemic, while care homes in the county are also feeling the impact, with more outbreaks than at any time previously leaving staff, according to the council, “stretched to the limit”.

The latest data from Public Health Wales has revealed that cases have risen in Carmarthenshire, despite a promising yet brief slowing of incidences following the national fire-break lockdown which came to an end on November 9.

The infection rate in the county (new cases per 100,000 population) for the seven days up to November 3 was 184.9 .

For the seven days up to November 9 it had decreased to 142.0 , and for the seven days up to November 10 it had fallen further to 129.8 , but the latest data released on Friday (for the seven days up to November 17) saw the rate back up to 160.5 .

In terms of new daily cases, there were 64 in Carmarthenshire confirmed on Friday. For comparison, there were 34 reported the previous Friday (November 13) , and the health board is now urging people to follow the latest guidance.

“The virus is circulating in our communities and this of course will have a knock on impact in our hospitals, both in terms of treating Covid and non-Covid patients safely and addressing workforce challenges due to staff being personally affected by the virus,” said Ros Jervis, director of public health at Hywel Dda University Health Board.

“The way our communities can best help our patients and the wider NHS ability to provide the excellent care it does, is by following the guidance and thinking about what you should be doing, not what you can do.”

The current rules in Wales, outlined by the Welsh Government before the country’s fire-break lockdown was lifted, allow households to form a ‘bubble’ with one other household. However, that ‘bubble’ cannot be swapped, changed, or extended to include other households.

People are allowed to meet with others who are outside that group, but only in a regulated venue such as a pub or a restaurant, where strict safety protocols should be in place. However, in this setting, the maximum number of people that can meet is four and in that scenario social distancing should be maintained wherever possible.

Keep up to date with the latest coronavirus data where you live:

“It is worrying that cases are showing an increase in Carmarthenshire, and even more so that these cases appear to be linked to close contact with friends and family,” said Emlyn Dole, leader of Carmarthenshire Council.

“We have all experienced this pandemic together – we all know what a hard slog it has been, how we are missing our friends and family, and how tempting it is to ignore the rules – we completely appreciate how difficult this is.

“But these rules are in place for a reason, and unfortunately we are seeing the consequences of these rules being broken.

“When people are going in to other people’s homes it is less likely that they will socially distance, and it is more difficult for our contact tracing teams to track people who may have come into contact with the virus.

“Please, let’s all think about it – not what we can do, but what we should do, to protect the people who we love the most. I thank everyone who is playing their part and who are adhering to the rules – this is the only way we can improve the situation we’re in.”



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