RCT could join Caerphilly in lockdown if numbers of confirmed cases continue to rise, it is claimed
A temporary testing centre will open in Rhondda Cynon Taf on Thursday as the council seeks to avoid a local lockdown.
Andrew Morgan, leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf council, has warned the county is at risk of joining Caerphilly in lockdown “if the numbers do continue to grow”.
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, he said: “We are concerned we only have a limited number of days where we can get on top of this and stop the numbers from growing and potentially facing a lockdown situation.”
In a response to the recent rise in the number of cases of coronavirus in the lower Rhondda area, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has set up a temporary testing centre in Porth.
In the past week, the confirmed case rate in RCT has reached 32.7 cases per 100,000. Local lockdown was implemented in Caerphilly when the case rate passed 54 cases per 100,000 and it has since hit 72.9 cases per 100,000.
Visits to RCT care homes have already been stopped, while six supermarkets have been given improvement orders after check-up visits by officials.
Councillor Morgan said the council was also looking at other measures that could be put in place but said if everyone followed the rules, then a “lockdown situation” could be avoided.
The way the virus is spreading in RCT is slightly different to that of Caerphilly, with many confirmed cases relating to small clusters around Porth, Penygraig and Tonypandy rather than community transfer, Cllr Morgan added.
The testing centre, set up in partnership with RCT council, will open its doors on September 10 and will be available to those living in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area only.
Testing will be carried out in the Oldway House car park in Porth and must be booked online in advance. Details of how to book a test will be shared on Wednesday.
Announcing the temporary facility, the health board urged people to follow social distancing guidelines and said: “We all have a part to play in keeping our communities safe.”
Cllr Morgan said it wasn’t just about the number of new cases being confirmed but also the increase in “positivity rate”.
He said: “We need to redouble our efforts on social distancing, washing hands regularly and wearing face coverings where necessary if we are to avoid a local lockdown. Every one of us has a role to play in breaking the chain of this virus.”
Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board reported its lowest numbers of patients with Covid-19 in local hospitals in the most recent figures – with only one confirmed case, 14 suspected cases and 19 patients in recovery.
Other places in Wales seeing a rise in infection rates include neighbouring Merthyr Tydfil, which has 35 cases per 100,000, and Powys, who’s case rate has edged into double figures this week.
Wales, Coronavirus, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Porth, Lockdown
World news – GB – Temporary testing centre to open in Rhondda Cynon Taf as cases rise