Mark Eastwood MP: Kirklees COVID-19 Update 24/07/20

Mark Eastwood MP Kirklees COVID-19 Update 24/07/20

Mark Eastwood MP has been taking part in regular meetings with Kirklees Council leaders and fellow MPs from across Kirklees including Jason McCartney MP (Colne Valley) and Tracy Brabin MP (Batley and Spen). All parties have been working well together.

Following on from this Mark Eastwood will be sharing information with constituents on a range of local issues relating to Covid19. The local data shows that our rates of COVID-19 infection have remained at a similar level in Kirklees over the last seven days after dropping significantly last week. It’s great that we’re heading in the right direction but there is still a long way to go.

Please see some useful information from Kirklees Council below.

Community Update

COVID-19 data

Thanks to the efforts of everyone locally, our infection rates have remained at the lower level they reduced to last week. However, we’re still above the national average and we need to see our rates come down further. We have not beaten this virus yet.

Thankfully, we are still far from the levels of infection that resulted in a local lockdown in Leicester, but we still need to bring them down. It is everyone’s responsibility to do this so we can save lives and prevent a local lockdown.

Through the local data we now have access to, we are very likely to see infection rates go up and down in communities in Kirklees in the coming weeks and months. If this does happen, we will deploy staff and testing units to target specific areas.

The very best way of bringing our infection rates down and keeping them down is still by social distancing, hand washing, getting tested if you have symptoms and wearing a face covering if you are out shopping or on public transport. This is more important now than ever, particularly with the recent easing of lockdown measures.

Useful information for constituents

The Government releases new data every week which tells us what the rates of positive coronavirus tests are for each area, including Kirklees.

What does it tell us about Kirklees?

During the pandemic, 522.9 people per 100,000 residents have tested positive for the virus.

The data also tells us that 28.0 people per 100,000 residents tested positive in Kirklees in the past week. This is similar to the rate of 27.8 we had last week, which was a significant drop from 34.4 the previous week.

The current national rate is 7.4. The current West Yorkshire average rate is 22.4.

In summary, our infection rates have remained at the lower level they reduced to last week but we’re still above the national average and we need to see our rates come down further.

Please be advised that these figures are provisional and could be subject to change. Figures will be updated regularly here.

A relatively small number of cases can make a large difference to rates and this needs to be considered when looking at weekly changes and comparisons with other areas.

Why are the numbers higher in Kirklees than in other areas?

Nobody yet knows exactly why COVID-19 is more prevalent in some places than others but we have begun an action plan to tackle any local spikes of infections.

Are we heading for a local lockdown?

No. However, whilst infection rates in Kirklees remain well below those that resulted in a local lockdown in Leicester, councillors and officials are determined to keep numbers low, so we can prevent a local lockdown and protect lives and vital health and care services.

How can I help bring rates down further?

We all have a role to play in doing this. The advice is the same for everyone, whatever age you are and wherever you live.

Keep social distancing, wash your hands regularly and isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.

From Friday 24 July, wearing a face-covering is compulsory in shops and supermarkets. This is another easy way you can help. You may not know you are infectious. You may have no symptoms at all but that very same virus could be fatal for someone else.

When used correctly, wearing a face-covering can reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets, helping to protect others.

Are there areas that have higher rates than others?

Yes, and we are targeting any areas that have spikes in infection rates.

Initially, we’ve targeted Ravensthorpe, Saville Town and Batley West, for extra support and have been focussing on people in the 20-40 years old age group.

We’re now also delivering additional support in Birkby and Fartown where we’ve also noticed spikes in infection rates.

We will continue to analyse the data to learn more about spikes or trends in areas or within specific social groups across Kirklees and we will take targeted action to bring rates back down and save lives.

What is the council doing?

We’re using the data we now receive to target areas in Kirklees that have higher infection rates.

An outreach operation in communities most affected by COVID-19 is already underway with local councillors leading hundreds of council staff in dispensing public health advice to residents and working with families and communities on how they can stay safe

We’re also offering increased testing in affected areas. An additional mobile testing unit (MTU) is available in Batley at Wards Hill car park. The existing MTU in Dewsbury has moved to Cliffe Street car park. The units will be available for anyone who thinks they have symptoms to get a test.

In the last week, we’ve also written to all residents in Kirklees with the latest information on how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

Should I get tested?

If you have symptoms, you should get tested. Find out more about how to get a test.

Kirklees Active Leisure re-opening facilities

Following recent Government announcements that Leisure Centres can re-open from 25 July, Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) is working towards re-opening some sites from Monday 27th July. 

Re-opening will be a phased approach, and has been based on capacity to re-open sites safely, whilst ensuring social distancing is maintained as well as effectively implementing the required additional hygiene measures.

The sites to be re-opened in the earlier phases generally have larger floor areas and/or more flexible spaces, giving KAL the opportunity to cater for the greatest number of customers in light of the reduced capacities they will have.

KAL have been very clear in putting the health and safety of their members, staff and all those in the community as their number one priority and they will be introducing a number of additional hygiene and safety measures when the sites re-open. 

In light of the constraints, not all activities will be on offer, and for those activities which are offered there may be reduced capacities in sessions to reflect social distancing guidelines. Timetables may also be amended to allow for additional cleaning to take place.

KAL will continue to regularly review all their facilities alongside emerging guidance and consider reopening further facilities when it is safe and practical to do so.

KAL's phased approach to reopening the leisure centres:

Initially KAL will open on a gym & class only basis followed by swimming.
Phase 1 – July 27th Gym & Classes Batley Sports & Tennis Centre, Dewsbury Sports Centre,
Huddersfield Leisure Centre & Stadium Health & Fitness Club
Phase 2 - August 10th Swimming Batley Sports & Tennis Centre, Dewsbury Sports Centre,
Huddersfield Leisure Centre & Stadium Health & Fitness Club
Phase 3 – August 17th  Gym & Classes Colne Valley Leisure Centre, Lockwood Park Health & Fitness Club & Scissett Baths & Fitness Centre

KAL have provided full details around this, alongside further practical customer information on their website.

Wellbeing Pods to reunite care home residents with loved ones

The Council are purchasing Wellbeing Pods for our care homes that will help reunite residents with family and friends kept apart during lockdown. The proposal highlights the mental health impact of the coronavirus lockdown and how residents have been impacted by not seeing loved ones in person

Two pods will go to care homes in Heckmondwike (Claremont House) and Newsome (Castle Grange) to allow residents to meet family and friends in a socially distanced face-to-face way without the risk of spreading the infection. Other visitors such as social workers and other health professionals will also be able to use the pods to meet residents in a safe space, with family involvement.

We anticipate having the Wellbeing Pods up and running by the end of August.

Work Continuity

Kirklees Council and KAL join forces to tackle health inequalities in Kirklees

Kirklees Council and Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) will be developing plans to help tackle some of the health inequalities faced by local communities in Kirklees.

The lockdown has given KAL and Kirklees Council the opportunity to think how the partnership can even better support the health needs of local communities. This will be important for those people in particular who are recovering from the coronavirus.

This joint approach to tackling health inequalities will be set out as part of a ‘KAL Commission’ which is currently being developed. For now, the council is proposing financial support of up to £4million to support KAL whilst they recover from the major financial impact of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The funds will help to prevent job losses so KAL can continue to keep residents well now and in the future.