THERE was a dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases in Shropshire in the week between Christmas and the New Year.

In the week from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve there were 4,236 new infections reported, representing a 173 per cent rise on the week from December 10 to 16.

However, the rise was in line with that in other parts of the country and the Shropshire infection rate of 1,301.7 per 100,000 population was slightly less than that for the Midlands (1,369.3 per 100,000) and significantly below that for England as a whole where the figure stood at 1,519.7 per 1,000 population).

There were 32 hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients and there had been three hospital deaths related to the virus.

“Unfortunately, as we start the new year, we have seen the number of cases in Shropshire increase rapidly, mirroring national and regional trends,” said Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Director of Public Health.

“There were 4,236 new Covid-19 cases reported between 24-30 December, the highest we’ve ever had in a single week.

“The number of people being treated in hospital for the virus is rising and the situation is undoubtedly putting pressure on our local hospitals and care system.

“Thanks to the phenomenal vaccine effort in December though, more people than ever are now fully vaccinated, giving themselves the best level of protection against Covid-19.

More than 83 per cent of the eligible population have received the booster jab, one of the highest in the country.”