People in north Wales told to be 'vigilant' as Covid-19 cases rise

Local authorities and health bodies are warning people in north Wales to be "vigilant", as four counties across the region are set to be placed under tighter restrictions.

The same measures as have already been introduced across 11 areas in the south will apply in Wrexham, Conwy, Flintshire and Denbighshire from 6pm on Thursday 1 October.

It comes after just 37 out of 366 new cases were confirmed in north Wales, with the majority identified in Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

But how have the rising cases in those areas fared against those in locked down areas of south Wales?

A total of 870 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in the county of Conwy throughout the pandemic by Public Health Wales. Credit: PA Images

Dr Kate Clark, Secondary Care Medical Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said people must be vigilant as cases rise in north Wales.

"If you look across the border into our English neighbours, we're definitely seeing signs there that they're approaching a second wave - they've had increased numbers of cases and that is being translated into hospital admissions.

"If we look back into the first wave, we were around a month, or just under, behind them, so we do need to be vigilant."

But Dr Clark said despite an increase in people displaying symptoms across the health board area, hospital admissions remain relatively low.

"Across all three of our hospitals, we've got less than ten patients with symptoms."

The leader of Conwy County Borough Council echoed her call for extra vigilance, but added that the public is already doing "a huge amount".

Cllr Sam Rowlands added: "Other areas have proven that when we work together and follow the guidance, we can keep that level down".

On Tuesday ministers met with local authority leaders in north Wales to discuss the issue of local lockdowns.

During a press conference on Monday, economy minister Ken Skates said: "Clearly the infection rates are not as high in most parts of north Wales, and actually if you look at one particular local authority area - Wrexham - back in August there was much talk locally of a lockdown.

"But because of the test, trace, protect regime that was put in place, the hard work of public bodies working together, and the vigilance and good behaviour of citizens in Wrexham, we saw levels fall dramatically.

"We are hoping that in the north we will see a similar reduction in figures to enable us to avoid local lockdowns or a regional lockdown.

"Obviously, some parts of north Wales are registering higher numbers than other areas, but there is no doubt based on what I'm hearing from local authority leaders in the north that while people are concerned about coronavirus, people are acting responsibly and responding to the need to act in a way that prevents a further spread."

The island of Anglesey is under close watch, according to Public Health Wales. Credit: PA Images
  • How fast are cases rising in the north?

Between 21 and 27 September, Public Health Wales data showed there were 206 cases of Covid-19 confirmed across the six local authority areas in north Wales.

  • Per 100,000 people, there were 40.4 cases in Flintshire - the highest out of those six areas

  • In Conwy, there were 39.2 cases per 100,000, with 32.4 in Denbighshire

  • Wrexham confirmed 31.6 cases per 100,000, while Gwynedd identified less than half of those numbers with 13.6

  • Anglesey saw the fewest cases, with just 8.6 per 100,000 people.

But comparing these figures to the week before - between 14 and 20 September - reveals cases are rising in some parts of north Wales.

Conwy saw a rise of more than 24 per cent in the number of cases per 100,000, while in Flintshire the number has risen by almost 29 per cent.

However, Anglesey saw a significant drop in the number of cases per 100,000 people of nearly 76 per cent.

Despite this, Public Health Wales has repeatedly warned that the true number of cases across the country is likely to be higher than what is reflected in the data.

The week before Caerphilly was put into lockdown there were more than 94 per 100,000 people. Credit: PA Images
  • How many cases must there be to prompt a local lockdown?

The number of cases per 100,000 people were roughly double that of those currently being identified in north Wales in some of the southern areas when they were placed under lockdown.

On 8 September, Caerphilly became the first area of Wales to be placed under tighter measures after experiencing a surge in new cases.

In the days leading up to the local lockdown announcement - between 31 August and 6 September - there were 171 new cases confirmed in the county.

For every 100,000 people there were more than 94 cases.

Close behind was Rhondda Cynon Taf, which on 17 September became the second county in Wales to be placed under a local lockdown.

During the seven days between 7 and 13 September, 253 new cases were identified there, with nearly 105 cases per 100,000 people.