An area of Stockport has emerged as one of the region’s biggest Covid hotspots as the country faces an ‘Omicron emergency’.
Hazel Grove East and South recorded the second highest infection rate in Greater Manchester during the week to December 7, according to the latest hyper-local figures.
Data from the UK Health Security Agency shows the area saw 62 new cases over the seven day period – 36 more positive tests than the week before.
That represents an infection rate of 1056.6 cases per 100,000 people – higher than anywhere else in the conurbation bar Timperley South, in Trafford (1198.7).
And at 138.5, it is also by far the biggest percentage increase in Stockport in comparison to the previous seven days.
On Sunday night Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation following the chief medical officers’ decision to raise the Covid Alert level to 4.
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During the broadcast, he told people: “I am afraid we are now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant, Omicron and we must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe.”
Mr Johnson said the step had been taken ‘because of the evidence that Omicron is doubling here in the UK every two to three days’.
He added: “We know from bitter experience how these exponential curves develop.
“No-one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming.”
The UK Health Security Agency divides up each borough into neighbourhoods of roughly 7,000 people for statistical purposes.
And while Hazel Grove East and South saw by far the most cases during the week, there was also worrying news from Bramhall.
The leafy village in the south of the borough accounts for three of the worst-hit areas in Stockport over the seven day period.
Bramhall West had the second highest infection rate at 737.6 per 100k, while Bramhall North West in third spot with 721.6.
In fifth place was Bramhall North East (650.9) with Cheadle Hulme South East ( 697.4) making up the list.
Stockport is the third hardest hit place in Greater Manchester according to the latest borough-by-borough figures (for the week to December 8), with only Trafford and Bury having higher rates.
More encouragingly though,its overall infection rate of 474.9 is lower than the England average of 509.6.
Central Stockport, Portwood and Shaw Heath recorded the lowest infection rate during the week to December 7.
The area saw 17 cases, equating to an infection rate of 215.8 per 100,000.
The second lowest rate was found in Woodbank Park, where it stood at 226.2. Some 13 cases were recorded, but this was five fewer than the previous week.
Other areas where the infection rate remained relatively low were Offerton East and Bosden Farm (272.7), Heaton Moor (297.1) and South Reddish and Heaton Norris (280.9).
But it was Bredbury Green that saw the biggest drop. Cases were down from 37 to 25 – a fall of 32.4pc.
Stockport’s director of public health Jen Connolly has urged people to be ‘more cautious’ owing to ‘the rise in the level of risk due to Omicron’.
In a recent statement, she said: “The Omicron variant is now spreading throughout the country, so we need to take urgent measures to protect ourselves, give time for more people to be as protected as possible through vaccination, ease pressure on the NHS and to allow scientists to learn more about the variant.
“The particular concerns with Omicron are the speed of spread and the fact that it may be that current vaccines aren’t able to give as much protection against this variant, as they did against others.
“That said, getting your vaccines are still the best thing to you can do to help build you protection. There is still much more to learn about to give us a certainty around this, but there are warning signals that cannot be ignored.”