WE’RE putting the people we love the most at the greatest risk by flouting the rules and spreading the virus – that’s the stark message as Covid-19 cases rise in Carmarthenshire.
The county is now experiencing the highest number of positive cases since the pandemic began with the daily rate of infections now a serious concern.
There are more people in Carmarthenshire’s hospitals with Covid-19 symptoms than ever before, and contact tracing data shows that most people are catching the virus from close contact with family and friends in eachother’s homes.
The impact is also being heavily felt in the county’s residential care homes which are now experiencing their highest level of outbreaks and where staff are being stretched to their limit.
The rise in cases follows a promising – yet shortlived – slowing of cases following the fire-break.
Latest data (as at 1pm on November 18, 2020) shows there are now 160.5 cases per 100,000 of the population – up from 147.3 per 100,000 in the previous seven days.
Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said the fact that people appear not to be listening to the rules is concerning, and that people should seriously think about how they are putting the people they love the most at risk.
“It is worrying that cases are showing an increase in Carmarthenshire, and even more so that these cases appear to be linked to close contact with friends and family,” said Cllr Dole. “We have all experienced this pandemic together – we all know what a hard slog it has been, how we are missing our friends and family, and how tempting it is to ignore the rules – we completely appreciate how difficult this is. But these rules are in place for a reason, and unfortunately we are seeing the consequences of these rules being broken.”
The current rules in Wales allow households to form a ‘bubble’ with one other – that bubble arrangement cannot be swapped, changed, or extended further than one household.
People are allowed to meet with others from outside that bubble in a regulated venue, such as a pub or restaurant where there are strict safety protocols in place, but the maximum number of people that can meet is four and even then social distancing should be maintained wherever possible.
Cllr Dole added: “When people are going in to other people’s homes it is less likely that they will social distance, and it is more difficult for our contact tracing teams to track people who may have come into contact with the virus.
“Please, let’s all think about it – not what we can do, but what we should do, to protect the people who we love the most. I thank everyone who is playing their part and who are adhering to the rules – this is the only way we can improve the situation we’re in.”
Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda University Health Board Ros Jervis said: “The virus is circulating in our communities and this of course will have a knock on impact in our hospitals, both in terms of treating COVID and non-COVID patients safely and addressing workforce challenges due to staff being personally affected by the virus. The way our communities can best help our patients and the wider NHS ability to provide the excellent care it does, is by following the guidance and thinking about what you should be doing not what you can do.”
Full details of the regulations currently in place can be found on the Welsh Government website, www.gov.wales, and people are encouraged to ensure they understand the rules.
Further information, advice and Covid-19 updates can be found at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales