In this week’s surveillance report which analyses all of the recent COVID cases and rates over the period 13-19 July, Northampton is showing the most cause for concern.

Kettering and Corby are also areas of concern as the rates of infection per 100,000 increase for the third week running.

Whilst the data shows that cases are also increasing in Daventry, the rate of infection per 100,000 is below the Northamptonshire average. Kettering on the other hand is showing a decreased number of cases, but the rate of infection per 100,000 is a worrying sign.

Public health officials have explained that sometimes spikes in the data may be due to an outbreak in a specific establishment, but the current concerns in the borough of Northampton, show that the virus is spread out across the entire borough, with a higher incidence in the wards of Castle and Abington.

Identifying an exact cause of this rise in rates is difficult. Transmission can occur easily in indoor spaces such as workplaces, care homes and factories, but transmission in the community is likely to be playing a role in the increase as national restrictions have eased.

Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, says: “We must now follow additional measures in Northampton borough to avoid facing a local lockdown. A lockdown could mean that non-essential shops and businesses are closed and there would be tight restrictions on travel and who people are able to meet with.

“We have also seen a change in the age range of those testing positive for COVID-19 with a larger proportion of positive cases aged in their 20s and 30s. As people in this age group tend to be more socially active, I am appealing to this section of our communities in particular to follow the additional guidance and help to protect those who are most vulnerable.

“No one wants to see those measures re introduced and therefore I urge the public to support us in following the additional measures, and avoiding a local lockdown situation. These additional measures are general good practice and I would urge residents in Corby and Kettering to also act with caution. The virus is not going away any time soon and we have to take these measures seriously.”

“It is also essential that if you experience symptoms of Coronavirus (high temperature, continuous cough or loss of / change in sense of smell or taste), you book a test. We have bought in an additional testing resource to the borough from Thursday 23 July through to Monday 27 July, enabling more local people to get a drive-through or walk-in test closer to where they live and we are hoping to extend this resource further.

Tests can be booked online at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Home testing kits can also be ordered subject to availability.

“If you test positive, you must self-isolate, do not go to your workplace or to the shops, either work from home or report sick and self-isolate. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be helped by the NHS test and trace service to identify the people they’ve recently been in contact with so they can be alerted.”