Update on Covid-19 cases in Rochdale borough

Date published: 24 September 2020

The area with the highest number of coronavirus infections in the borough of Rochdale is currently Kingsway where 33 cases were recorded during the week to 19 September, according to the latest figures from Public Health England (PHE).

Back in June Kingsway was one of the areas causing officials most concern as Rochdale battled the highest infection rates in the region, but a targeted campaign saw the number of cases drop significantly.

Since then levels have soared across Greater Manchester where all 10 boroughs are on ‘red alert’. 

Rochdale’s current infection rate is 136.7 cases per 100,000 people, which is the fifth highest in Greater Manchester.

Heywood, Heap Bridge and Darnhill saw the second highest number of cases over the seven day period, with 18. This was followed by Heywood Town (17) Healey, Syke and Shawclough (17) and Spotland Bridge (16).

The areas being used by PHE are Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOA) used for the reporting of small area statistics in England and Wales. Although some of the MSOA in the borough of Rochdale have the same names as certain electoral wards, an MSOA is not the same area or population as an electoral ward. The minimum population of an MSOA is 5,000 and the mean is 7,200.

As with neighbouring areas such as Deeplish and Wardleworth, Kingsway has a significant BAME community – many of whom work in low paid, high risk jobs and live in high-density housing.

A ‘heat map’ published by PHE clearly shows it in a deeper shade of blue than those which surround it – on account of its 33 cases over the latest seven day period.

The council says there have been no specific outbreaks to account for this and no targeted support has been put in place as figures fluctuate from week to week.

Kingsway councillor Daalat Ali said he was unaware of any specific problems in the area.

He said: “It’s a national trend, obviously we need to get it under control. I’m very worried, not only for Kingsway but for the whole of the region and country.”

Councillor Ali said councillors had ‘made a real effort’ locally, including knocking on doors to get key messages over to residents.

He blamed the ‘mixed messages, indecision and downright incompetence’ of the government for the soaring rates Greater Manchester has seen since August.

Councillor Ali said the vast majority of its ‘Pakistani’ population was actually Kashmiri and spoke Pahari – but often received literature in Punjabi or Urdu instead.

Kingsway also has large retail and business parks and Councillor Ali said it was possible the number of people who commute or visit from outside the area could be a factor.

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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