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Coronavirus infections on rise in New Forest as local schools hit by cases

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Local authorities have been urging residents to continue taking precautions
Local authorities have been urging residents to continue taking precautions

NEW cases of coronavirus are continuing to climb slowly in the New Forest, according to government figures.

This comes as the Prime Minister announced it will be illegal from Monday to gather in groups of more than six amid mounting concern over recent increases in infections.

As of Tuesday there had been a total of 524 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the district this year – an increase of 23 on the 501 registered at the same time last week. That compares to a rise of 17 the week before and 10 before that.

Jy Taylor, headteacher at Twynham School in Christchurch, has written to parents revealing a staff member had tested positive for the virus. However, they had not been at school since it reopened to students, and the site did not need to close.

A small group of staff had been self-isolating as a precaution, he said.

At Orchard Infant School in Dibden Purlieu, the Cherries class of Reception pupils will start back a week later than planned, on 21st September, after a teacher also tested positive.

Head teacher Julia Pillon said in a letter to parents: “I would like to reassure you that we have followed all guidance and have put in place comprehensive measures to reduce risks, together with strict protocols for all staff in how our class bubbles will work to minimise spread across the school.”

An exercise instructor at New Forest District Council’s leisure centre in Totton was among those who tested positive for coronavirus, it has emerged.

However, NFDC said the facility did not need to shut and no other staff or customers had to self-isolate because of safety measures it had in place. Public Health England confirmed it was happy with assurances after the instructor tested positive last Friday.

HCC said on Tuesday there had been 154 new cases in the county over the last seven days, a rise of 69 on last week’s figure.

According to separate numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), however, for the seventh week running there have been no Covid-19 deaths reported in the New Forest.

The total death toll in the district this year remains at 131.

Simon Bryant, HCC’s director of public health, said rises in Hampshire infection rates had been particularly notable among those aged 15-29.

“As a county we are in a relatively good place currently, with comparatively low numbers of confirmed cases of the virus. However, this could change quickly if we aren’t vigilant.

“In particular, we are seeing small increases in infection rates, especially among young people, some of whom are returning from holiday abroad, and in others who are socialising beyond boundaries.”

Mr Bryant is also reminding residents of the importance of self-isolating for up to 14 days when requested, and to wash hands and keep social distancing.

The total of confirmed cases of Covid-19 for the BCP Council area, which includes Christchurch, was 945. That is a rise of 42 which is up on the increase of 28 the week

before and 16 the week before that.

There were also no deaths reported in the BCP Council area. The total fatalities in the conurbation stay at 189. The weekly figures from the ONS relate to deaths that occurred up to 28th August but were registered up to 5th September.

This week regional R-rates – the average number of people who get infected from some-one with the coronavirus – were in the range of 0.8-1 in the south-east and 0.8-1.1 in the south-west. A rate of more than one indicates the pandemic is growing.

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