INFECTION rates in Cheshire West are not falling ‘as sharply’ as health chiefs would like.

That’s the view of Ian Ashworth, the council’s Director of Public Health, making an appearance at CWAC’s Covid-19 Outbreak Board last night (January 27).

The latest data shows CWAC has a 7-day rolling infection rate of 357.9 cases per 100,000 residents — a drop of 18.8 per cent compared to the previous non-overlapping 7-day period.

Mr Ashworth said: “The really good news is that we are seeing the community transmission levels come down. We have seen a 20 per cent drop in the [infection] rates which is really good, but it is not as sharply a drop as we would like.

“We really want to get it down as low as possible. That’s one of the challenges we saw with lockdown two as we could not get it below 100 per 100,000, and then it went right back up again.

“We have very much followed the England average throughout the pandemic which is a good thing. What I think I need to draw your attention to is that we saw that steady rate go up — but with ours it takes longer to come down with our urban rural geography.”

A summary of the meeting from Local Democracy Reporter Ethan Davies

Within CWAC’s overall infection rate of 357.9, data from the council said that the over-60 infection rate was 314 cases per 100,000.

It also showed that the rates for those aged between 20-29 was 449, with the over-80 rate being 622.

READ MORE>> NHS Cheshire chiefs say 'every care home resident' had first vaccine dose

Mr Ashworth also revealed that ‘workplace outbreaks’ are becoming more of an issue compared to previous lockdowns, as fewer staff are working from home.

77 such outbreaks — where two or more cases have been linked to workplace transmission — have been recorded since September 2020, with 31 per cent of these in industrial settings, and 29 per cent in commercial/office space.