COVID spike in Arlesey, Shefford and Stotfold revealed to be linked birthday party

There was a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Shefford, Arlesey and Stotfold following a birt

There was a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Shefford, Arlesey and Stotfold following a birthday party. Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Archant

A birthday party caused a spike in COVID-19 cases in towns near Hitchin and Letchworth last month, leading to extensive test and trace activity in the area.

Central Bedfordshire Council and Public Health England worked to investigate the source of last month’s outbreak in Arlesey, Shefford and Stotfold.

Data showed an increase from 12 cases in the week beginning August 2, to 23 cases the following week, Conservative Sandy councillor Tracey Stock told a social care, health and housing overview and scrutiny committee meeting.

READ MORE: Council warns of COVID-19 ‘outbreak’ in Arlesey, Stotfold and Shefford area“The majority of cases were among young adults with a particular geographical area of Arlesey, Stotfold and Shefford,” she explained.

“The outbreak was linked to a birthday party. There was a lot of test and trace involved in that.

“This was followed up and attendees identified, with monitoring ongoing in a number of cases.

“Mobile testing capacity was brought into the area and a communications campaign targeted the young people.

“That area has seen a real drop following the birthday party. Hopefully that was a one-off incident.

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“The data for the week beginning August 24 shows just three cases in those wards,” said Cllr Stock, who’s the executive member for health and wellbeing and communities.

“The figures have started to come down with 22, a fortnight ago, and it was 18 for August 31 to September 3.”

Conservative council leader James Jamieson had stressed the importance of controlling the August outbreak in the three towns and keeping people safe.

He warned that some people “don’t show symptoms” and urged residents “not to take risks and stick to measures which have proved effective in controlling the spread”.

Independent Linslade councillor Victoria Harvey asked at Monday’s committee meeting if there was any chance of enforcing social distancing.

“That’s the real question,” she said. “What’s the enforcement? And are there people going round and checking?

“It’s very important there’s clear messaging. Some hairdressers have gone to enormous lengths to make sure their customers are safe, while others have scarcely done anything.”

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