Students celebrating their A-level results are blamed for a Covid wave in a historic Leicester market town.
Some 1,875 per 100,000 people aged 17 to 21 now test positive for the virus in Harborough – more than double the national average (876) in that age group.
Young people returning from holidays abroad could also be behind high levels of Covid infections, the region’s health official warned.
Mike Sandys described the cases as “astonishingly high” and “a real concern.” He said that young people who went to A-level rash parties two weeks ago “contributed to the sharp rise in the number of infections.”
It’s because the infection rate among all age groups in Harborough has risen 18 percent in the past week.
The local health chief warned that half of the intensive care beds in Leicester’s three main hospitals are occupied by Covid patients, nearly a third of whom are under 45.
The latest official data shows that in the week to August 19, 420 per 100,000 people tested positive for Covid in Harborough. This figure is higher than the average across the country (375) and England (334). In the seven days to August 12, only 343 people per 100,000 in Harborough were infected, showing the number has risen 18 percent in seven days.
The vast majority of cases in Harborough are among young people. Only 103 people per 100,000 aged 60 and over, compared to 545 per 100,000 under 59 years old
The percentage of people aged 17 to 21 who test positive for Covid in Harborough (1,875 cases per 100,000 people) is more than double the percentage in the country (865) and in England (876).
More than 1,000 Latitude festival-goers test positive for Covid-19
More than 1,000 people who attended Latitude Festival last month have tested positive for coronavirus, according to reports.
The three-day festival was part of the government’s event research program and was attended by approximately 40,000 people.
Festival-goers had to show proof of a negative Covid test or be fully vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk.
But data released by Suffolk County Council shows 1,051 people tested positive in the days following the event.
It also shows that 619 people became infected on Latitude, while 432 were contagious at the time of the event.
Of these, 175 were people who lived in the province.
Stuart Keeble, Director of Suffolk Public Health, said: ‘As Suffolk reopens and people attend busy events or attractions, it is important that people continue to be considerate and wear masks or distance themselves where appropriate.
“Covid is still circulating in the province and while most of us have been double stung, we can’t be sure that people around us won’t get very unwell if they get it.”
Headliners Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club performed at the event.
Other government test events included the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final at Wembley and the Tramlines music festival in Sheffield.
Culture Minister Oliver Dowden said: “We have shown that we can safely reintroduce mass sporting and cultural events, but it is important that people remain cautious when mixing in very crowded environments.
“To make sure we can keep the football season, theaters and performances safe this winter with a packed crowd, I urge sports, music and culture fans to get the vaccine because it’s the safest way we can do it.” major events to run at full speed again. ‘
It comes after health officials said they were investigating 4,700 cases of coronavirus suspected of being linked to the Boardmasters festival, which took place in Cornwall nearly two weeks ago.
The cases have spread across the country, but about 800 live in the province, a city official has confirmed.
Mr Sandys told the Harborough Mail the infection rate in that age group is “amazingly high” in the neighborhood, but he hopes it’s a “temporary peak.”
He said, ‘This is a real concern, there’s no two ways about it.
“Something has suddenly gone wrong in Harborough and it’s very difficult to say exactly what it is. So what’s going on?
“We had the A-level results on Tuesday, August 10, and GCSE results two days later on Thursday, August 12.
“No doubt we have had many parties all over Harborough, with children and their families celebrating their successes.
‘They will all have contributed to the sharp rise in the number of infections. I know there will of course have been parties elsewhere in Leicestershire.
“But maybe teenagers in Harborough did especially well and had even more get-togethers.”
Education leaders have canceled A exams for the second year in a row over concerns students were unprepared for due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Instead, teachers judged on courses and exams set by schools.
The approach resulted in 75 percent more A* and A grades than in 2019 – the last time students took traditional exams.
He said teens going on vacations and going to festivals may also be contributing to the increase in the number of cases.
Mr Sanys added: ‘We are certain that up to 40 cases here in the district have resulted from the Boardmasters music festival at Newquay in Cornwall alone.
“The weather hasn’t been great lately. So more teens will spend more time indoors – watching TV or on their X-box.
“So this dramatic increase in the number of Covid infections is, as always, due to a special combination of several factors.”
And he warned people to “be sensible” and do Covid testing over the coming holiday weekend and at Reading and Leeds music festivals.
Mr Sandys said those ages 16 and 17 should not hesitate to get a Covid vaccine as it is “the best defense we have” against the virus.
It is because the infection rates among the population of Harborough (420) are also higher than the rates for Leicestershire (375) and England (334).
A week earlier, only 343 people per 100,000 in Harborough had been infected, showing that the number of cases has risen 18 percent in seven days.
He said this is “a pretty steep percentage increase,” but it’s “impossible to pinpoint exactly why that is.”
And it affects Leicester’s major hospitals – Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General and Glenfield – where 23 of their combined 50 intensive care beds are occupied by Covid patients.
About 30 percent of people in the hospital are under the age of 45.
He said: “I suspect we’re going to have a pretty choppy ride this winter with flu and other seasonal illnesses on top of the coronavirus.
“So I call on everyone to act wisely, responsibly and unite together to prevent the number of Covid infections from rising – and to push them back down.”
Meanwhile, cases are also disproportionately high among 11- to 16-year-olds in Harborough (862), compared to Leicestershire (583) and nationally (444).
Mr Sandys said it is not unsafe for students to return to school next week, but that they should be “extra careful” now that cases are so high, to reduce the risk of the virus being passed on to their families.
“We can’t just lock them up in their rooms if they have the coronavirus.
“But everyone should take sensible precautions to prevent transmission from spreading throughout the family.”
If a child tests positive, their home should be well ventilated, social distancing should be maintained, surfaces should be cleaned regularly and people in the household should do so, he said.
The health chief added: ‘Just don’t do crazy things. Now let’s stop this sudden dramatic rise in cases – and let’s stop moving up the age bracket.
“We’ve had such disruptions in Harborough before.
“And every time that has happened, people have responded well and the numbers have gone back down pretty quickly. Let’s do that one more time now.’