City leaders encourage the 37,000 people in Leeds who have not had COVID vaccine to take the jab as cases rise by 11 per cent in a week

The rate of COVID infections across Leeds has risen by 11 per cent in the last seven days.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:45 am

City leaders say this is in line with a trend of rising infection rates nationally with test positivity at 11.4 per cent, while the over 60s rate is also very high at 291.7 per 100,000 up 33 per cent in the last 7 days.

The 11-16 year old age group has the highest level of infection but there are signs that this is levelling off as the vaccination programme in school age children’s progresses and more than 4,600 children have been vaccinated in schools so far.

However, in a memo circulated to key players in the city, Coun James Lewis, the leader of Leeds City Council and Tom Riordan, the authority's chief executive, say they are concerned about the 37,000 people in Leeds who are classed as vulnerable and who haven't had a first vaccination against COVID.

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Coun Salma Arif is encouraging people that have not already had the vaccine to take up the offer.

The number of COVID patients in hospital has risen and there is significant demand in social care and the care sector, reflective of workforce pressures in these sectors, but, they added, there are very low number of university students ill with COVID compared to this time last year, with high vaccination take-up amongst the student population.

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She said: "The vaccine still represents the best and quickest method of keeping people safe while ensuring we can continue to see our friends and family and do the activities we enjoy.

"Although there is still widespread community transmission of Covid 19 across Leeds and other UK cities, we know that hospitalisations and deaths are remaining low which is a sign the vaccine is doing its job.

A woman has the Astra Zenica vaccine at Elland Road where a vaccine centre has been set up.

"This is positive news, but there are still many people who haven't been vaccinated and are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. As we move into winter I am encouraging anyone who is yet to receive their vaccine (and is not exempt) to please seriously consider the offer and help to keep yourself and your community safe."

Coun Lewis and Mr Riordan said the rate in Leeds was being driven by the high case numbers in school age children, but on a whole, the picture across the whole city remains dynamic despite national talk of a 'Plan B' which could see face masks being made compulsory in some places, powers to introduce vaccine passports and working from home again.

They said: "As we move into the winter, we know the months ahead will be a challenge, but as a city we have shown that we can rise to the challenge if we work together. Let’s strike a wise balance between being positive and ambitious with being realistic and empathetic.

"We continue to have Covid in the city, with public services still recovering from the pandemic, experiencing high demands for services, workforce shortages and high expectation that everything will return to normal.

"But we also have such a strong base to build on with partners in the city and our brilliant communities. Recent city events such as Leeds Digital Festival and Light Night are great examples of our city coming together and this week the launch of the Leeds Winter Favourites programme does give everyone something to look forward to."

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