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News in brief: Covid cases in Wales reach five-month high

06 Jul 2021 6 minutes Read
Covid-19 testing. Photo by US Naval Academy Photo Archive is marked with CC PDM 1.0

The weekly Covid rate in Wales is the highest in five months, according to the latest figures from Public Health Wales.

Over the seven days up to 1 July, 3,253 people tested positive for the virus, taking the case rate to 103.2 per 100,000 people, the worst since the final week of January when PHW recorded 4,199 new infections and a national case rate of 133.2.

Today’s update also confirmed one further death due to the virus, in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board, taking the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic in March last year to 5,578.

There were 698 new infections nationwide since yesterday’s report as Cardiff (124) recorded the highest number of new positive tests for the virus in the last 24 hours taking the total for the week to 513.

Wrexham’s weekly case rate is the highest in the country at 230.2, up from 213.3 yesterday and the weekly positivity rate of 10.7% is also the worst at 10.7% per 100,000 tests, an increase of 0.4% since Monday’s report.

Seven local authorities, Cardiff, Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey, currently have infection rates in three figures and five other areas have seen rates jump into the 90s including Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, the Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Despite the recent surge in cases, hospital admissions due to Covid remain low with just 23 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 admitted to Welsh hospitals in the past week.

 Meanwhile, the latest update from the Office for National Statistics recorded just one death involving Covid in Wales in the week ending 25 June.

According to the ONS just four deaths involving Covid have been registered in Wales over the past four weeks.

Since the start of the pandemic last year the ONS has recorded 48,277 deaths from all causes in Wales, with 7,900 (16.4%)involving Covid. This was 4,896 deaths above the five-year average.

Deaths counted by the ONS are when Covid-19 is mentioned by doctors on the death certificate and which occur in all settings – including hospitals, care homes, hospices and people’s homes.

The daily figures released by Public Health Wales only include the deaths of a hospital patients or care home resident where Covid-19 has been confirmed with a positive laboratory test and the clinician suspects this was a causative factor in the death.

Flood damage in the Rhondda

Tories call for axing of National Resources Wales

The Welsh Conservatives are calling for the scrapping of National Resources Wales after the leaders of Wales’ 22 local authorities urged the government to review the public body’s powers.

The move follows a report on ITV Cymru Wales yesterday that the Welsh Local Government Association had written to the Climate Change Minister Julie James last month complaining of problems dealing with NRW.

National Resources Wales was formed in 2013 by combining three previous bodies, the – Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and the Environment Agency in Wales and employs close to 2,000 people across the country.

‘Scandals’

“Welsh Conservatives first called for National Resources Wales to be scrapped three years ago after numerous scandals showed the organisation was sadly not fit for purpose,” Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet Finch-Saunders said.

“The most recent debacle has seen NRW’s negligence highlighted as the cause for last year’s devastating floods in the Rhondda, and that is just one in a series of failures from a body that’s failed to deliver since its creation by the Welsh Labour Government.”

“It’s been clear for some time that the public and other key public bodies in Wales have lost faith in the organisation and Labour’s minister must now act and review its sub-standard performance, which has dragged on for far too long,” she added.

“Labour’s merger hasn’t worked and NRW has failed people and communities across the country. I’ve called for the creation of a separate National Flood Agency and it’s imperative we now change course and reset the environmental protection, regulation, maintenance and management of natural resources in Wales.”

The Masons Arms hotel. Photo via Google

Coronavirus warning for hotel visitors

Hannah Neary, local democracy reporter

 Health Officials are contacting visitors to a hotel in Bridgend after multiple people who were at the premises tested positive for Covid-19.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board’s test, trace and protect team are contacting people who were at the Masons Arms Hotel in Bryncethin on Saturday June 26.

“Several” people who visited the hotel on that day later tested positive for coronavirus, according to a social media post by Bridgend County Borough Council.

Anyone who was at the premises on June 26 and is now showing or developing symptoms of Covid-19 such as a high temperature, persistent cough or change in sense of taste or smell should avoid going to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital and instead self-isolate straight away along with other members of the household and book a test.

You can book a coronavirus test online or by calling 119.

Officials are urging anyone who needs medical advice to call their GP and let them know they have recently visited a premises at the same time as someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Defibrillator. Photo by Tanja-Denise Schantz from Pixabay

Support announced to help boost cardiac arrest survival rates

The Welsh Government has announced it is backing a programme to help improve survival rates after a cardiac arrest.

Save a Life Cymru will receive support of almost £2.5m over the next three years to raise awareness and fund new educational and training resources, including improving public access to defibrillators.

Recent figures show Wales has one of the lowest cardiac arrest survival rates in Europe and the lowest in the UK. At 4.6% the survival rate in Wales is less than half that of England (9.4%) and is also lower than Scotland (10.2%).

“It is vital we educate people about what to do when someone suffers a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting,” Health Minister Eluned Morgan said.

“By raising awareness of the basic skills needed to carry out CPR and use a defibrillator, we can make a significant difference to survival rates.

“This funding will help communities to work with Save a Life Cymru and the Welsh Ambulance Service to improve the provision and maintenance of defibrillators and to improve the skills to help save lives.”

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