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“Blackburn with Darwen is currently not at risk of a lockdown” as report reveals town has one of the highest infection rates

A Public Health England report published this afternoon named Blackburn with Darwen as one of the top areas currently for the 7 day rate of infections per 100,000.

The report shows that the borough had the 9th highest infection rates in the country for the week ended 21 June, the most recent data available.

 

The Director of Public Health at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Dominic Harrison, has said:

We certainly take this report very seriously. It confirms our own local judgements of the current situation in Blackburn with Darwen – that we have a slightly raised rate of confirmed cases in recent data.

I would stress however that Blackburn with Darwen is currently not at risk of a lockdown. Whilst the rate is currently elevated, we have between 8 and 11 cases per day. When the numbers get this small a handful of cases can make the rate appear to have jumped when in fact the number of cases rising or falling is relatively small. We are nowhere near the 900 or so cases reported in Leicester over the past two weeks.

However we are not at all complacent – we have published our plan this week, we are stepping up our local prevention work week-on-week with vulnerable settings and are strengthening our communications with key groups. We are working closely with the local NHS to make Pennine Lancashire ‘second wave ready’ and are making plans to increase the availability of local testing for higher risk groups.

My message on the back of this report is: stick to 2 meters social distancing wherever possible, increase daily handwashing, and wear a cloth mask in all enclosed public space. For settings such as places of worship, pubs, workplaces and schools; continue to follow the national guidance on making your spaces COVID-Safe.

We have clear plans to manage any local outbreaks which are to be expected. If we start to get any evidence of continued community transmission outside of these settings we will be watching the data closely and will bring in a stepped approach to risk reduction that would avoid us having to lockdown.

But to work this approach needs all of us to play our part, we need to work together to keep Blackburn with Darwen a COVID–safe borough. It’s up to us all to stick by the rules and protect each other to both save lives and save livelihoods. I would particular urge the borough’s residents to take it easy on the big lockdown lifting day on Saturday 4th July and help each other stick to the rules for being COVID-safe.

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