WHARFEDALE and Aireborough residents are being urged to stay vigilant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The call comes following a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in several parts of Leeds - and with the city’s seven day rate of infection also increased.

The Leeds Outbreak Control Board has identified clusters of cases in neighbourhoods within Kirkstall, Harehills and surrounding areas.

The city’s seven day rate, meanwhile, has been gradually increasing and rose from 4.1 cases per 100,000 people at the end of July to to 13.3 as of August 5.

No spikes have been reported, as yet, in the rural areas surrounding the city but Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), a local Accident and Emergency department nurse, is warning that could change.

He said: “These local spikes in areas of Leeds are a concern but numbers continue to be low in Otley and Yeadon.

“That doesn’t mean we should be complacent though, so I continue to urge residents to social distance 2 metres or more, to wear face masks when they can and in shops, and to continue to wash or sanitise their hands regularly and for 20 seconds or more.

“A failure to do so risks not just another lockdown but further harm to our prominently older and frailer residents and also to our struggling businesses.

“Please do your bit too to stop the spread.”

Leeds City Council says targeted preventative steps are being taken in priority areas in a bid to stop a further rise cases. Council and public health officials are also calling for people across Leeds to continue to play their part in keeping themselves and others safe by following the guidelines.

Mobile testing units have been made available at Kirkstall and Fearnville leisure centres and people with symptoms can also book tests at other locations in Leeds.

City council Leader and Chair of the Leeds Outbreak Control Board, Councillor Judith Blake, said: “There has been some excellent work across Leeds these past few months which, together with a tremendous sense of community spirit, has ensured we have stayed ahead of the virus.

“With some restrictions now being relaxed it’s more important than ever that we keep doing everything we can collectively and individually to take care of ourselves, our communities and our city.

“Our outbreak planning has meant we’ve been able to identify these clusters early and intervene quickly, so it’s our hope that by working closely with people living in these areas we can manage and contain these cases and prevent a wider outbreak.

“But we can’t do that alone and it’s absolutely imperative that residents play their part by following the latest advice, including avoiding gathering in large numbers, maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks when required, regularly washing their hands and by getting tested and isolating if they have symptoms.”

Some of the actions that are being taken in the communities where COVID-19 clusters have been identified include:

*Providing additional support for families who are self-isolating

*Promoting the walk-in testing site at Fearnville for residents with symptoms and reinforcing messages about social distancing and the support packages that are available

*Issuing social media messages that target the affected areas, to reinforce the importance of social distancing/handwashing/self-isolating/getting tested

To find out more about what is being done to help control outbreaks, and the steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visit https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/managing-coronavirus-in-leeds.