The coronavirus infection rate in Bolton has soared to reach more than 200 cases per 100,000 people after dozens of delayed test results were announced.
The weekly infection rate has been above 200 on three separate days in the last week, according to revised figures released by Public Health England on Wednesday.
Just a week ago, Bolton had a similar infection rate to Caerphilly at around 90 cases for every 100k people in the last seven days.
The grim news comes as the Royal Bolton hospital reported a rise in hospital admissions for Covid in recent days, particularly among white men in their 40s and 50s, it is understood.
The Manchester Evening News reported that Greater Manchester’s latest daily dashboard tracking coronavirus data shows Bolton highlighted as red for admissions, with nine new Covid patients admitted on Friday.
Tameside hospital is also highlighted red due to its admissions, a pattern we reported last week.
Its hospital has now warned the rise in admissions has led to its emergency department becoming ‘extremely busy’. It says people needing treatment should not be put off attending the hospital, but stresses it ‘cannot afford for this situation to worsen’.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said there are currently 23 people with confirmed Covid in the hospital, along with 26 suspected cases. It is understood a clear pattern has emerged in the past week of middle-aged men needing hospital treatment for the virus.
Bolton’s infection rate peak so far was for the seven days which ended last Thursday, September 10, when the rate reached 211.1 cases per 100,000 people.
It means that the infection rate in Bolton is now far higher than the previous highest UK rate, recorded in Leicester, where it reached 159.1 cases per 100,000 people on June 25.
Last Tuesday the borough was placed under strict new lockdown measures which included banning pubs and restaurants from all but takeaway sales.
At the time, the infection rate was 128.3 per 100,000 people – the highest in the UK – and in the last few days it has continued to rise sharply.
The infection rate is usually reported three days behind to allow enough time for results to be collated – so the rate for the week ending on September 10 was reported on Sunday, September 13.
Figures released by Public Health England that day showed there had been 552 cases reported for Bolton in that week, which gave an infection rate of 192.0.
However, a further 55 positive tests have now been added to the total for week ending September 10 – which lifts the infection rate to 211.1.
The infection rate has also been revised upwards to 201.7 for the previous day and up to 201.4 for the following day (week ending September 11).
It is thought the delayed reporting of the test results will have been linked to the chaos in the testing system which has left many people unable to find a test centre.
It comes amid concern for the increasing number of cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales. Live updates on this situation here.
Wales’ weekly rate of infections now stands at 21.4 for every 100,000 people – past the rate at which a quarantine would be imposed on a foreign country.