Image Description: A picture of the Radcliffe Camera, with purple flowers in the foreground.
People in Oxfordshire are being urged to stay home and abide to COVID-19 lockdown rules following a significant surge of cases in the county.
Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health has urged people to avoid mixing with other households to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 locally, saying: “The prevalence of COVID in Oxfordshire is higher than it has ever been. We are in a worse position than at the height of the first wave last spring, and the situation is continuing to deteriorate.
Azhar went on to add: “COVID-19 loves crowds. Only go shopping when it is essential, shop alone and shop local, keep two metres apart from others and remember that outdoor exercise is only allowed once per day. Being out and about presents a real risk, so limit the time you are out of the house and take every precaution. One in three people with COVID don’t know they have it so act like you’ve got it to reduce the spread. We need people to hear that message loud and clear.”
COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire are at an all-time high.
Figures show that Cherwell is up 107 cases today, while other areas in Oxfordshire — Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill and Littlemore, have each reported over 1000 cases per 100,000 people – amongst the highest rates in the country.
Not only have cases climbed by more than 400 in the last 24 hours, but another eight COVID-related deaths have subsequently been reported at Oxfordshire’s hospitals.
While 2.4 million people have now been vaccinated in the UK, Azhar reminded that “the vaccine will not start to have an influence for some weeks and so the only weapon we have against this virus is to stay at home and avoid mixing with people outside of our households.
With the vast majority of students having not yet returned to Oxford University this term, Oxford Central currently has the lowest rate in Oxfordshire at 137.4.
Despite this, the whole county is showing rapid spread, and thus are being urged to avoid bending the rules and recognise the immediate danger of the virus.
Councillor Louise Upton, Oxford City Council Cabinet Member for Safer, Healthy Oxford said:
“These figures are a shocking reminder that the virus is right here on our doorsteps, Oxford families are getting sick and people are losing loved ones. Every time you flex the rules or mix with people when you don’t need to, you’re adding to the risk in your community.”