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Cases of Covid at highest level since January.

Byline: IAN JONES Press Association

WALES is recording its highest rates of new cases of Covid-19 since January, as the third wave of coronavirus continues to pick up pace across the country, new figures show.

The figures show how the third wave of coronavirus, which began in the UK at the end of May of this year, is once again on the rise after a period last month when it appeared cases may have peaked.

Around two-thirds (67%) of all local authority areas across the UK are currently recording an increase in case rates, including every area in Wales, all but one area in Northern Ireland (Mid Ulster) and all areas on mainland Scotland, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

Wales' rate of new cases is now at 288.6 per 100,000, the highest since mid January.

While Northern Ireland has also seen a similar surge - its rate of new cases currently stands at 579.5 per 100,000 people, the highest since January 8 - the picture is slightly different for the other two nations.

In Scotland rates are also rising sharply, but are currently below the levels reached earlier in the third wave at the start of July.

Scotland recorded 289.2 cases per 100,000 people in the week to August 18, up week-on-week from 167.2, though still below the recent peak of 425.0 on July 3.

England is the only one of the four nations where rates are currently rising slowly rather than sharply, with 323.8 cases per 100,000 in the week to August 18 - up from 306.9 a week earlier.

England is also still some way from hitting the sort of levels seen last month, when case rates peaked at 543.4 on July 19.

All four nations have now experienced a similarly "shaped" third wave.

Cases began to rise from the end of May and spiked in July, although on different dates for each nation; this was followed by a partial fall in cases and a levelling off; then came a renewed increase in cases in August, which was sharp enough in Wales and Northern Ireland to overtake the spike in July.

Unlike the first and second waves of coronavirus cases, however, the third wave has yet to cause a similarly sharp rise in the number of hospital cases and deaths.

A total of 6,441 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital in the UK as of August 19.

This is up 9% on the previous week and is the highest number for five months.

But it is a long way below the 39,254 patients who were in hospital at the peak of the second wave on January 18 - the highest for any day since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the average number of UK deaths reported each day of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 currently stands at 98.

This compares with a peak of 1,248 on January 23.

In Wales, Covid-19 was the 22nd leading cause of death in Wales in July, analysis by the Office for National Statistics shows.

The relatively low levels of hospital patients and deaths during the third wave so far reflects the impact of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, which has now seen nearly 77% of all people in the UK aged 16 and over fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates vary between the four nations, particularly among young people, however.

Northern Ireland is estimated to have given a first jab to only 68% of 18 to 29-year-olds, compared with 71% in England, 73% in Scotland and 76% in Wales.

>>>> Covid mistakes: Pages 22&23 3,247 NEW CASES

WALES has recorded more than 3,200 new positive cases of coronavirus, says the latest update from Public Health Wales.

Data published yesterday, identified 3,247 new cases in Wales over the past 48 hours up to 9am on Sunday, bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 264,756.

There were also two new Covid-19 deaths reported in Wales, meaning the total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive now stands at 5,658.

The latest infection rate across Wales as a whole is now 288.6 per 100,000 people based on the seven days up to August 18 - up from 245.7 recorded on Sunday. Every single local authority reported a rise when compared to the previous data.

The figures are based on the date a test was done, not the date a test was put on the system, meaning it is an accurate reflection of how fast the virus is spreading in Wales.

Positivity rates in Wales have also reached 16.5% and are highest in Flintshire and

Neath Port Talbot where one in five people are testing positive for coronavirus.

The area with the highest infection rate in Wales remains Denbighshire with 414.9 new cases per 100,000 people, followed by Neath Port Talbot with 363.5.

The area with the highest number of new cases in the latest period was Swansea with 365, followed by Rhondda Cynon Taf with 298 and Cardiff with 276. The areas with the lowest cases were Blaenau Gwent with 39, Anglesey with 36, and Merthyr Tydfil with 29.

As of August 19 there were 228 people in general and acute hospital beds with confirmed (165), suspected (23), and recovering (40) cases of coronavirus - up from 220 the day before. There were also 29 people in invasive ventilated beds in Wales with coronavirus, up from 26 the day before.

The latest figures show that 2,335,573 people in Wales have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 2,156,119 people have received both doses of the jab.


Rhyl, Denbighshire, where Covid infection rates remain the highest in Wales
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Author:IAN JONES Press Association
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 24, 2021
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