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Tracking the drop in Preston and South Ribble’s Covid infection rate during February, calls for city to be vaccine priority hotspot and first stage of lockdown easing as schools return

Posted on - 7th March, 2021 - 6:52pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Sunset at Preston Marina Pic: Tony Worrall
Sunset at Preston Marina Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston and South Ribble’s coronavirus infection rates are rapidly dropping as the first stage of lockdown easing begins on Monday (8 March).

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Blog Preston has been tracking the city and borough’s infection rate since before the second national lockdown in November last year.

Here’s a look at the latest new confirmed cases, how the infection rate changed during February and a round-up of the latest coronavirus headlines ahead of schools re-opening for classroom teaching.

Weekend Covid cases

New Covid cases confirmed on Saturday (6 March) saw 21 new cases in Preston.

South Ribble recorded 14 for the same day.

Wyre was up by six cases, Ribble Valley by nine, Fylde by 14 and Chorley by the same number of cases.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

Sunday (7 March) Covid cases showed 22 new cases recorded in Preston.

South Ribble recorded 18 cases for the same day.

Wyre saw no new cases for Sunday, Fylde recorded 11, Ribble Valley was up by 22 and Chorley saw nine new cases.

Read more: ‘Flagrant abuse’ of lockdown rules as helicopter flies from Salford to Chipping for a barm

How the city’s infection rate changed in February

Preston’s been in and out of the top 10 coronavirus infection rates during February.

There’s now been a very solid downward trend for the city’s infection rate during the final weeks of February.

South Ribble has declined even further.

See the chart below for how Preston and South Ribble’s Covid rates have changed in February. Or tap here.

It comes as the leader of Preston City Council councillor Matthew Brown has written directly to the Health secretary Matt Hancock asking for the city to be prioritised in the vaccination programme.

The government is currently working on a vaccine roll-out across all regions at the same pace, with age the priority factor.

But Cllr Brown says the city’s areas of dense high multi-occupancy housing and BAME population means Preston should get priority for the vaccine.

See the latest coronavirus vaccine stats and information

Return to schools and what else changes come Monday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is ‘very hopeful’ the return of pupils to the classroom will go to plan.

He said the risks of keeping classrooms closed outweighed a school-led spike in Covid cases.

Pupils across England return to school for the first time since January in the first stage of lockdown easing.

Read more: Preston and Lancashire schools prepare to welcome all children back to the classroom

Mr Johnson said he believed pupils, parents and teachers were “ready” to go back, with more than 20,000 schools set to open their gates once again.

“Tomorrow, on March 8, is the big step on the road map that we hope is a road map to freedom,” the Prime Minister said during a visit to a north London vaccines centre.

“It is made possible by the rollout of the vaccination programme.

“I’m very hopeful that it will work, it will all go according to plan and that all kids, all pupils, will be back in schools tomorrow.

“I’m massively grateful to parents who have put up with so much throughout the pandemic and teachers who have done an amazing job of keeping going.

“I do think we are ready, I think people want to go back, they feel it, they feel the need for it.”

The Stay at Home order remains in place from Monday (8 March) but people will be allowed to meet another person outside for coffee and sitting on benches.

Care home residents are also to be allowed one regular visitor they can hold hands.

Read more: Lockdown 3 easing, what’s happening and when

Wrap-around childcare like after-school clubs and breakfast clubs can also resume.

If all goes well, the next stage of lockdown easing is March 29 – when the rule of six for outdoor gatherings returns and the Stay At Home order is understood to then move to a ‘Stay Local’ message.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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