A rural council in Wales has admitted it is “increasingly concerned” about an outbreak of coronavirus which appears to be stemming from one Welsh town.
In Ceredigion, nearly two-thirds of the new positive Covid-19 cases reported on Sunday were in Aberystwyth, while on Monday half of all cases in the county came from the town.
It’s all a far cry from the summer months, when the outbreak took its hold in large swathes of Wales but seemingly passed through Ceredigion without leaving its mark. We looked at some of the reasons behind that here.
Between March and June, there were only 42 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county.
But in November the county’s infection rate shot up as a result of what the council called ‘super-spreader’ events such as parties and other social gatherings which took place in the Cardigan area, leading to a two-week closure of schools in the town and its surrounding areas.
In the week up to last Thursday (December 17) there were 180 new cases in just seven days in Ceredigion, and the county council has said the numbers, particularly in Aberystwyth, are continuing to increase.
The town saw 38 new cases in just 48 hours over Sunday and Monday.
Last week, Ceredigion Council said they were “especially concerned” about two other parts of the county – the Aberaeron and Llanrhystud area and the Lampeter and Llanfihangel area.
Then, the county had a seven-day infection rate (the number of new cases per 100,000 population) of 202.2. The most recent infection rate published by Public Health Wales puts the county’s rate at 247.6 – the highest it has ever been.
The council has not commented on why it thinks cases are on the rise in Aberystwyth, but it did hint that the spike could be a result of people mixing in each other’s homes and not sticking to the current guidelines as outlined by the Welsh Government.
“We are seeing a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Aberystwyth area over recent days,” a spokeswoman for Cerdigion Council said.
“We are becoming increasingly concerned about the increase – nearly two-thirds of all the cases reported on Sunday and half of the cases reported on Monday by our Contact Tracing Team are in the Aberystwyth area.
“The number of positive cases across the county continues to increase at a rate that we haven’t seen before. The new variant of Covid-19 is in all parts of Wales. It spreads faster and we all need to be more vigilant and ensure that we follow the guidelines at all times.”
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The spokeswoman added: “Wales has now entered Alert Level 4. This means that people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes and must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with.
“We know it’s difficult to limit the number of people we see, especially at this time of year, but limiting your contacts is essential for keeping the number of people with the virus down and it’s how we will ultimately protect our loved ones.”