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Covid-19 cases rise in farming community

 
Created on 13/11/2020 @ 15:45

After being relatively Covid-free since the start of the pandemic, there is concern that a first wave of positive cases is creeping into rural communities across Montgomeryshire.

Local health chiefs, who have kept their messaging general until now, have today taken the unusual step of specifically appealing to farming communities to step-up measures to stop the spread as cases continue to mount. The message has been backed by farming chiefs.

Three outbreaks since March have given Welshpool the highest number of cases in Mid Wales since the pandemic began in March, but the surrounding rural communities have been relatively untouched, until now.

The area termed by Public Health Wales as ‘Llanfyllin & Llanwddyn’ has seen a sharp rise in positive cases with 18 detected in the seven-day period between November 4-10, while ‘Guilsfield & Four Crosses’ has also been impacted over the past month, but has seen a slight improvement to eight positive cases.

Welshpool has dropped down to just three cases, its lowest for some time, but the area south of the town termed ‘Montgomery, Trewern and Berriew’ has risen to nine while to the west, ‘Llanfair Caereinion & Caersws’ is up to 15 positive cases. 

Newtown’s first outbreak last month appears to have been restricted to a care home with the town’s cases now down to below two.

Welshpool Livestock Sales has been closed this week following positive cases among staff, and the rise in rural numbers has prompted the local health authority to micro-message, with Stuart Bourne, Director of Public Health for Powys Teaching Health Board, saying: “We have seen an increase in case numbers in Powys where the route of infection is social contact in the farming community. These cases have a significant impact on our economy and also on education as many pupils have to self-isolate as confirmed contacts.

“Living in a remote or rural area, it can be tempting to think that Coronavirus will not reach us.

“But, Coronavirus can affect anyone. People in villages and farming communities in Powys are contracting the virus, and they are passing it on to others.

“It is vital that we do all that we can to prevent the spread of the virus within Powys. Limiting contact with others whilst maintaining social distancing is a key measure along with wearing face coverings and regular hand washing.

“It is important for all of us to remember that Coronavirus is still a very real threat to public health and the best way to stop the chain of infection is to come into contact with fewer people. We need to do all that we can to prevent a further rise in coronavirus cases.”

NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “The threat of Coronavirus has surfaced in our rural communities and I urge everyone to adhere to social distancing, carry out regular and thorough hand washing/sanitising and wear a face covering.  When attending livestock marts or sales and whilst carrying out other necessary business matters, please follow relevant Covid guidance made by individual operators.  I urge everyone to stay safe.”

Home testing kits, and drive through tests in Newtown, can be booked online at https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test or by phone on 119.

If you are identified as a confirmed contact with someone with Covid-19, the Powys contact tracing team will call you from 02921 961133.


 

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