It’s official: Uttlesford is the coronavirus capital of Essex!

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UTTLESFORD, which is just a few miles from Harlow, has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Essex, according to figures just released by Public Health England (PHE).

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Uttlesford have risen to the highest level in Essex (64 cases per 100,000 population a week as of 6 October), and also continue to increase more rapidly in Epping Forest (58 cases per 100,000 population a week as of 6 October) and Brentwood at 55 per 100 000. Basildon has also seen an increase, although not to the same extent.

The figures come from the latest Public Health England ‘patch report’, which do not include data from the most recent four days. This is because the most recent data can be unreliable and is likely to change. The figures may therefore vary from those published via other sources, such as the Essex Open Data website, although will eventually agree.

Cllr John Lodge, leader of Uttlesford District Council, said: “The figures indicate that positive cases are now being seen across all age groups, not just younger people as it was some weeks ago, and that is a great concern. If we continue to see a rise in infections we will face greater restrictions which will then have an impact on our local businesses that have been trying so hard to get back on their feet.”

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing at Essex County Council, said the Contact Tracing Team was working with Public Health and local protection teams to manage the situation, but stressed that they needed help from the people of Uttlesford.

“In Uttlesford this looks very much [as if its] transmission within the community, as there is no evidence which attributes these cases to a particular event, area or outbreak,” said Dr Gogarty. “If cases appear in this way across a district, it makes it much more difficult to manage, contain and prevent further spread.”

Aside from the two-metre social distancing policy, regular hand washing and the wearing of face masks in enclosed public spaces; residents are being encouraged to work from home where possible and consider the importance of their social interactions. If commuting to work is essential, the NHS Covid-19 App has been promoted so that each identification can be used to monitor contact made with a case, which will notify them to take necessary action.

The council’s Community Hub, at 45 Stortford Road in Great Dunmow, is still open to support residents who feel vulnerable, anxious or lonely and would benefit from assistance.

Our main photograph by Matt North is of the village of Stansted, 16 miles from Harlow.

Pams photo Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden market square – the largest town in Uttlesford

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Callum Wells

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