Cases of coronavirus back in Saddleworth as town centre neighbourhoods dominate

By Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter

NEW cases of coronavirus are being recorded across Saddleworth for the first time in weeks but two town centre neighbourhoods continue to dominate case numbers.

Statistics released by Public Health England (PHE) from August 8 up to August 14 show there have been more than three incidences of the virus across 18 areas of the borough.

More cases are cropping up in northern and eastern areas, with three cases being reported in Greenfield and Uppermill, and four in New Delph, Dobcross and Austerlands.

However, case numbers continue to be concentrated in the Alexandra Park and Werneth areas, with 44 and 33 cases during that week.

Oldham currently has the second highest infection rate in the country and teeters on the verge of the Government placing it into a full Leicester-style lockdown to try and put a stop to rising Covid-19 infections.

All three of the borough’s MPs, Debbie Abrahams, Jim McMahon and Angela Rayner, have written to health secretary Matt Hancock asking him to grant a further two week stay of execution before bringing in harsher restrictions.

“If we find ourselves registering an increase, we must state our objection to the approach taken in other places where sweeping lockdowns have been brought in,” they write.

“Like many places the borough of Oldham is not a single place, but a collection of seven towns.

“A local lockdown not just has the potential to close down businesses, and with that almost certain job losses in areas with almost no recent positive test results, but it also dilutes the available resources to fully target areas which are most at risk.”

A spike in coronavirus infections led to lockdown restrictions on households socialising being reintroduced on July 28 by the council.

While the rate of testing has hugely increased to try and tackle infection hotspots, the proportion of people testing positive is also increasing.

The PHE data totals 196 cases across Oldham – however areas which have two or fewer cases are not included in the data map – meaning the total will be higher.

The government statistics for that same week record a total of 225 cases.

The area of Salem has the third highest total, with 22 cases, followed by Busk with 19, and Alt with 11.

Oldham Town South has nine cases, according to the stats. Oldham Town North, Chadderton North and Limeside and Garden Suburb have all recorded eight cases each.

Clough and Shaw Side, Derker, and Failsworth East have four cases in each area.

And three cases have been reported in Royton South West, Waterhead and Chadderton South West.

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