Over 700 cases of Covid have been reported in Cumbria as of this week.

As of now the number of cases has increased from 612 last week to 717.

Barrow continues to have the highest number of new cases, currently standing at 194, however, the infection rate is starting to decrease over the previous week.

The rate of infection has gone down from 295 to 289 per 100,000.

This is providing an early indication that the local restrictions are having a positive impact.

The area’s infection rate remains the highest in Cumbria and well above the national average of 170 per 100,000.

The Health Protection Board agreed that Barrow should remain a High Alert area.

Carlisle also saw a large rise in new cases compared the previous week, up from 87 to 190.

A significant rise in Eden is also of concern but may be related to increased levels of testing in the district.

Both areas now have an infection rate slightly higher than the national average and are being monitored closely, with consideration being given to whether further action may be required to reduce infection spread.

This week’s data also shows that for the first time since August the 45-59-year-old age group saw the highest number of new cases, overtaking 15-29-year olds.

There were 50 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospital beds in Cumbria compared to 29 the previous week.

Dr Matthew Saunders, Consultant in Public Health at Cumbria County Council, said:

“This week’s data for Barrow give cause for some cautious optimism but we are still a very long way from where we want to be. I’d want to thank people in Barrow for responding positively to the new rules that have come into force and it is essential that this effort continues.

“This situation in Carlisle, and to a lesser extent in Eden, gives cause for concern. The increase in new cases has been very fast and it may be that further action is needed to stop the spread, but this requires further discussion.  

“It remains the case that if people follow the guidance, reduce social contact, wash hands and wear a face covering then we can reduce infections and avoid the need to increase local alert levels.”