‘There’s every possibility that York could be added to coronavirus watchlist’ says public health director

A social distancing sign on High Petergate, York. Photograph: YorkMix

York could be added to the government’s coronavirus watchlist, the city’s public health director has warned.

Sharon Stoltz, director of public health for York, urged people to be vigilant to prevent the city from being added to the list of areas of concern.

She said the city has seen a “large rise” in the number of cases over recent weeks – but that the increase is from a low baseline.

The city currently has a rate of 52.4 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days up to September 23, she said.

“There’s every possibility that York may find itself on that watchlist as an area of concern,” she added.

“The pattern we are seeing at the moment is our trend is very similar to the trend we are seeing for other parts of the north – but our rate is lower than many of those other areas.

“As a city we have done very well in largely keeping to the national guidance.

“There’s every possibility that York is on the national radar at the moment because we have other local authorities that have high number of cases nearby. We are on that national radar.

“But at the moment we have not been identified as an area of particular concern. Fingers crossed, if everybody follows the guidance it will stay that way.”

A bid has been made for a walk-in test centre to be opened in York

“We have successfully lobbied to have our own local contract tracing system in York.

“We will start to see more effective contact tracing across the city which will help keep numbers down.”