North Northamptonshire's Covid rates raised with Matt Hancock again

The north of the county's three MPs have asked him to consider mass testing such as door-to-door schemes

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 11:32 am
Tuesday's Zoom meeting.

Covid rates in the north of Northamptonshire have again been raised with Matt Hancock with three MPs urging him to consider mass testing.

Case numbers have been stubbornly high in Corby in recent weeks, although rates in nearby Wellingborough and Kettering have dramatically dropped.

Last month Wellingborough MP Peter Bone raised the area's figures in the House of Commons, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledging to act.

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Since then health officials said they would send a leaflet to every home in Corby, and open a rapid test centre in Wellingborough once they fixed the heating, but there's been no further developments on calls for mass testing.

On Tuesday evening (March 2) Mr Bone, Corby MP Tom Pursglove and Kettering MP Philip Hollobone held a Zoom meeting with Mr Hancock to discuss possible actions.

Mr Pursglove said: "With that in mind, we asked the Secretary of State to consider the following:

- Boosting testing capacity locally, including mass testing, such as door-to-door schemes, to help identify chains of infection so that we can then shut those chains down through targeted action.

- To check that all appropriate support is in place locally to ensure that those infected are able to self-isolate without any barriers or financial worries.

- To rapidly build further on the vaccination roll-out so far to increase resilience against the virus in our community and to reduce transmission, which studies appear to suggest vaccination is helpful in achieving.

"He undertook to go away and look at these various aspects urgently and would come back to us as quickly as possible. As soon as I hear more, I will be sure to provide further updates.

"Of course, the Government has an important role to play in providing the right resources as part of the response, particularly around testing, but succeeding in driving down these infection rates also relies on people and businesses doing as much as they can, personally, to do the right thing and stick by the rules.

"I believe we owe it to each other to do just that and so many are doing so much as part of that endeavour. But I can again only re-emphasise the key message that we really need everyone to minimise their social contact unless absolutely essential, to work from home as much as possible if you can, and to isolate should you be required to do so."

Corby held the undesirable position of having the country's highest seven-day rate for well over a week, but its case rates have since rapidly dropped.

As of last night (Wednesday) its weekly case rate of 176 per 100,000 people was the third highest in England. In the seven days to February 5, Corby had 432 cases per 100,000 people.

Kettering and Wellingborough's seven-day case rates were consistently in the top 15 in England for about two weeks.

But as of last night they have dropped so significantly that neither now feature in the top 75.

Wellingborough's case rate is now 97 per 100,000 - the 79th highest. Kettering's case rate is now 83 per 100,000 - ranked 120 in England. Kettering recorded just two cases yesterday.

Mr Pursglove urged people to carry on playing their part in driving down case rates.

He said: "Ultimately, if we can drive these figures down locally, roll-out the vaccination programme to its conclusion and deliver the ‘roadmap’ safely in a gradual and irreversible manner, this should be the last ‘lockdown’ we have to experience - but everyone has to play their part in bringing those three strands together.

"I really think a big push now is well worth it and it will undoubtedly make a difference."