Families are being warned to keep to the rules this Easter after it’s emerged that over a quarter of current Swansea Covid-19 cases have been traced to a number of household gatherings in the north of the city.
At least 50 new positive cases out of a total of 185 reported across the city last week have been linked to people who attended the indoor get-togethers in the Clase area.
As well as partying indoors, some people have been regularly popping in and out of each other’s homes, driving infection rates up.
The Clase gatherings have now resulted in Covid spreading across a wider Swansea area. Two large clusters of Covid cases identified, along with three small family clusters and four schools have been affected. Investigations are continuing and more cases may be found.
People are being urged to get tested if they have a temperature, new cough, loss of taste or smell or any flu-like symptom, including headaches and fatigue, or symptoms which are unusual for them.
It comes shortly after another household gathering in Briton Ferry led to 23 people testing positive for Covid-19.
Covid-19 case rates have been going in the wrong direction in Swansea Bay over the last couple of weeks. The Swansea figures are now standing at 71.7 per 100,000 population, and in Neath Port Talbot they’re 65.6 cases per 100,000.
That’s an 18% increase in Swansea Bay over the last seven days, and higher than the Wales average of 40.6 cases per 100,000.
Swansea Bay University Health Board Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid, said he was extremely disappointed that some people were still not getting the message about social distancing. He said:
“To be crystal clear, it is against the current rules to invite people into your home for a party, a cuppa, or any social get together.
“You might think it’s harmless, but it’s not. These incidents in Clase and Briton Ferry just go to show how indoor gatherings can quickly escalate into scores of people catching the virus.
“The virus loves physical close contact, and it circulates much easier indoors because there’s no fresh air to blow it away.
“If you invite family and friends over for a party or a coffee in your home, there’s a big chance the virus will gate-crash.
“Everyone might seem perfectly healthy, but remember that this is a sneaky virus. In many cases an infected person has no symptoms at all and is blissfully unaware that the welcome hug they just gave you also gave you Covid.”
Dr Reid said that with families naturally wanting to meet up over Easter, it was important to hold any catch ups out of doors, in gardens or parks, etc., and to stick to social distancing rules.
Six people from two households (carers and children under 11 not counted) are now allowed to meet outdoors, but they should still keep two-metres apart.
He added: “With a dry weather forecast for Easter, just wrap up warmly if it’s a bit chilly, and enjoy a get-together in the fresh air.
“Be safe in the knowledge that if you stick to the rules you can still enjoy the company of your loved ones, but with minimal risks.
“The last thing anyone wants is to find out after a party that a family member has become seriously ill, or passed on the virus to someone else who may become unwell or worse. It’s just not worth it.”
(Lead image: Anna Shvets)