CORONAVIRUS cases in Warwick district have rocketed and are now higher than anywhere else in Warwickshire, Coventry or Solihull.
Between December 5 to 11 cases increased by 111 on the previous week to 187 per 100,000 people.
Warwick District Council leader Andrew Day believes the rise is due to the country coming out of lockdown and a number of cases in local schools.
He told the Observer: “This virus responds when people start mixing and moving. Most cases have been coming out of schools in particular.
“We have been getting out, going back to the shops and people are getting ready for Christmas, I think that is probably behind it. I also think there is a bit of fatigue, people not wearing their masks properly or washing their hands as frequently.
“But numbers have gone up and they will go down again.
“The concern we have is around Warwick Hospital and making sure we have capacity there. If cases keep going up the hospital will be in a difficult place come new year.”
Other areas in the region have also seen a rise, with neighbouring Stratford increasing by 70 cases taking it to 99 per 100,000, Rugby rising by 45 to 151 cases, Coventry increasing by 88 to 153 cases per 100,000 and Solihull up by 31 to 165.
Nuneaton and Bedworth is the only place to reduce, dropping by 31 to 159 cases in 100,000.
And despite Coun Day opposing Warwick district being placed in tier 3 alongside the rest of Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull when the country came out of lockdown, he says the decision may have ‘protected the district from a massive spike’. He maintains the decision has badly affected local business.
But with the festive season approaching, the council leader does not believe government guidelines allowing the mixing of three households should be tightened on the back of local figures rising, along with increases in London and the South East.
He said: “I think people are being by and large very responsible. Families are the people who care most about their relatives.
“We all know the risks involved. The gift of covid is not what you want to be giving granny this year.
“I trust our residents to do what they believe is the safe thing to do. People have mainly shown good judgement and goodwill and I back that.”
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has echoed the council leader’s concern at the rise in cases, and is calling on residents to exercise caution over the festive period.
He said: “I am concerned by the rise in cases over the last week just as our region was making progress in combatting the virus and it appeared we should be leaving Tier 3.
“It is as yet unclear what caused the spike in cases in Warwick district but I strongly urge residents to adhere to the restrictions and be extra cautious as Christmas approaches.
“It is up to our communities to show resolve and quickly bring cases down if we are to get out of Tier 3.”