Schools fuelling surge in cases as Kettering overtakes Corby as country's Covid hotspot

Case rates among kids are TEN TIMES those in adults, according to government data

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 9:02 am

Kettering has overtaken Corby as England's Covid hotspot with positive tests in schools fuelling a surge in cases.

Daily government data released at 4pm on Tuesday (September 21) showed 171 out of 597 new positive tests countywide were people living in the former Kettering borough.

That comes after 159 cases in Kettering the previous day - a total of 330 in just two days so far this week.

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The number of Covid patients doubled at Kettering General Hospital in the first two weeks of September.

The area has now seen 706 new cases in a week, almost as many as Northampton where the population is more than double and 244 more than in Corby which still had the highest case rate in England just five days ago.

NHS England figures revealed the number of Covid patients in Kettering General Hospital nearly doubled from 23 at the beginning of this month to 46 by September 14.

Corby's weekly infection rate is now 639.7 per 100,000 people including yesterday's data. Kettering's is 693.7.

Yet the official weekly rate among those aged between ten and 14-years-old in Kettering was 2,319.9 cases per 100,000 and those 10-19 was 1,619 per 100,000 BEFORE the latest surge in cases is taken into account.

The equivalent rate among 20-24-year-olds is 253 cases per 100,000.

Health chiefs were braced for a rise in Covid cases in education settings in the wake of schools reopening following the summer break.

Under the bubble system used last year, if one pupil or staff member in a set group tested positive for Covid then all the other members of the group were sent home to self-isolate.

But the measures, which also meant students had to wear face coverings in communal areas, were scrapped in July after being blamed for causing huge disruption to education.

At least one school in the area has advised its students to start wearing masks again following the recent rise in cases.

Principal of Montsaye Academy in Rothwell, Meena Gaabi, wrote to parents on Monday (September 20) saying: "We have been advised by Public Health England that there have been a confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the school community.

"Following their advice, we will be reintroducing masks for all pupils in communal areas, including walking in the corridor from class to class. Staff are already wearing masks. This measure will come into effect immediately and we expect masks to be worn from tomorrow.

"We will closely monitor the situation and update you as necessary.

"The school setting remains open and your child should continue to attend as normal if they remain well. We encourage household members that are aged 11 and over to continue with twice weekly LFD testing to help identify cases promptly."

Public Health Northamptonshire publishes its own surveillance report each Friday using data up to the previous Sunday. Latest figures confirmed a 29 per cent rise in Covid cases in education settings during the second full week of term, up to September 12.

Weekly rates in other areas of Northamptonshire are 326.0 in Northampton, 385.2 in Wellingborough, 333.2 in East Northamptonshire, 397.9 in Daventry and 336.5 in South Northants.