Blackpool records the highest rate of new Covid cases since testing began

Three in 10 local authority areas in the UK are recording their highest rate of new Covid-19 cases since mass testing began in summer 2020, new analysis shows, and Blackpool is one of them.

By Colin Ainscough
Friday, 31st December 2021, 10:41 am
Updated Friday, 31st December 2021, 10:42 am

The areas include around three-quarters of authorities in north-west England, nearly two-thirds in the West Midlands and almost half in the East Midlands.

Blackpool’s community infection rate, for the seven days to December 25, is based on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in a lab-reported test, plus, in England, positive rapid lateral flow tests that do not have a negative confirmatory lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours.

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Christmas shoppers in Blackpool earlier this month

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

The rate in the resort is 918.5 per 100,000, with 1,271 people testing positive.

That’s up from a rate of 385.2 the week before, when 533 diagnoses were recorded.

Fylde’s rate has also shot up, from 520.9 per 100,000 to 1,075.

And Wyre’s rose from 374.1 to 863.2.

The new figures also show that:

– 29 of the 39 local authorities in north-west England now have record Covid-19 case rates, led by Barrow-in-Furness (1,554.1 cases per 100,000 people), Bury (1,489.7) and Warrington (1,471.4). Other areas at record levels include Blackpool, Bolton, Liverpool and Wigan.

– In the West Midlands, 18 of the 30 local authorities are now seeing record rates, led by Stafford (1,178.7), Lichfield (1,119.9) and Cannock Chase (1085.9).

– 17 of the 40 local authorities in the East Midlands have record case rates, including Chesterfield (1,189.4), Leicester (1,036.3) and Lincoln (1,087.5).

London still has the highest local rates in the UK, accounting for nine of the top 10 and 17 of the top 20. Lambeth has the highest rate of all, 2,415.4, though this is down week-on-week from 3,029.1.

– Only one of the 11 local authorities in Northern Ireland is currently not at a record high: Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon.

– Northern Ireland also has the highest rate of the four UK nations (1,310.2), followed by England (1,226.0), Wales (1,150.4) and Scotland (1,068.2) – all of which are record highs.

In total, 112 of the 377 local authority areas in the UK (30 per cent) are now recording their highest Covid-19 case rates since mass testing was rolled out across the country in May and June 2020.

Figures for case rates in the early months of the pandemic are not directly comparable, as only a small number of people were being tested, mostly in hospitals and care homes.

The contrast between the south and east corner of the UK, and the rest of the country, reflects the way the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has spread in recent weeks – in particular how London was the first area of the UK where Omicron became the dominant variant of the virus.

Of the 112 local authority areas with record case rates, only two are in south-east England (Cherwell and Worthing) and four are in eastern England (Bedford, King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Mid Suffolk and South Norfolk).

In Scotland, 11 of the 32 local authorities are seeing record rates, along with eight of the 22 authorities in Wales.

In addition, 11 of the 21 local authorities in Yorkshire and Humber are at record levels, plus two of the 12 authorities in north-east England.