Leeds' Covid positivity rate at a record high as latest figures show one in four PCR tests were positive

One in four people in Leeds who took PCR tests in the run up to Christmas turned out to have Covid, putting the city’s positivity rate at its highest level on record.

By Joanna Wardill
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 4:45 pm

The latest UK Covid dashboard figures show 24.1 per cent of people who took a PCR test in the week to December 24 got a positive result.

The city’s positivity rate is the highest since comparable records began and is up from 21.8 per cent - the previous high - from the day before.

With the emergence of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, the positivity rate has climbed sharply since the start of December, when it was 8.6 per cent in Leeds.

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Leeds' third lockdown. Picture: Simon Hulme

The rate is used to measure the true scale of infection, as an overall increase in cases could be caused by more tests being carried out.

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An increase in testing would also return a proportionately higher number of negative results if the virus was not running rampant in communities.

A high positivity rate indicates widespread infection.

Previously the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that a positivity rate of five per cent is the threshold for determining if a pandemic is under control.

England has not been below this level since June 27.

Nationally, at the latest count, the England average is now 22.4 per cent, with the London borough of Barking and Dagenham having the highest positivity rate, of 34.1 per cent.

It comes as NHS bosses announce plans to set up new Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals across the country - including St James’ Hospital in Leeds - as part of preparations for a potential wave of Omicron infections.

The Leeds site will be one of eight across the country with the capacity to treat 100 patients.

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