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Covid concerns linger as cases rise in Rhiwbina

Some residents admit they are worried about high infection rates

RESIDENTS have expressed concern over the spread of coronavirus after Rhiwbina Village recorded one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the country last week.

The village recorded 84 new coronavirus cases between the November 9 and 15. Its infection rate of 1,126 per 100,000 population gives the North Cardiff suburb the second worst rate of Covid cases in Cardiff, behind Radyr, and the ninth worst in Wales.

In nearby Rhiwbina and Pantmawr, however, cases are much lower, with just 31 positive cases over the same period.

The figures are based on data published last week by Public Health Wales, which provides case numbers for designated areas with an average of 7,000 people. They come as concerns remain over the spread of coronavirus in Wales, despite a successful vaccination programme that has seen almost two and a half million people receive at least one dose of the vaccine.  

“For the official numbers per 100,000 of the population to have risen shows that Rhiwbina residents need to be vigilant to help get the numbers down again,” said Adrian Robson, Councillor for Rhiwbina and Pantmawr.

“Washing hands, opening windows to air rooms and, where appropriate, socially distancing all help reduce the risk of either catching or transmitting Covid.”

‘I’m worried about my neighbours’: locals react to rise in cases

Cases remain high in Wales despite falling from the record levels seen in October. The vaccine rollout, however, continues to have an effect on hospitalisations due to coronavirus, which remain low and stable.

The uptick in cases has been noticed by people in and around Rhiwbina Village. Jaime Woodhouse, 41, described how a positive case in his six-year-old daughter’s class led to both him and his daughter testing positive.

“She had no symptoms whatsoever and didn’t develop any either, we never would have known without testing,” he said, adding that he thinks that his experience is “quite typical of what is happening to a lot of families in the school”.

Another Rhiwbina resident, who asked not to be named, said that the presence of two primary schools in Rhiwbina, plus other schools in the surrounding area, is likely a key reason for the area’s high case rate.

“About 30% of my daughter’s class have had Covid since before half-term, possibly more,” she said. “There are positive cases popping up all the time.”

Despite this, she is not alarmed about the case numbers. “Speaking for a lot of parents at my primary school, but not all, we aren’t too worried,” she said.

“I personally feel that we are all going to get it at some point, and rather sooner than over Christmas. At pick-up and drop off at Rhiwbina Primary, only a small handful of parents wear masks, which suggests they aren’t too concerned.”

Others, however, are still worried about the threat of the virus, despite the progress made against it in Wales.

“The talk of Covid in our area never seems to come up because we always assume that it’s gone” said another resident from the area, who also did not want to be named.

“But with two mainstream primary schools and two high schools in a small area, cases are obviously going to rise.”

She admitted that as much as she dreads the idea of another lockdown and the effect it would have on mental health, she does believe that more restrictions are needed.

“I think we need to bring in more restrictions again, such as wearing face-masks in school all day, and encouraging vaccination programmes in schools,” she said.    

“I’m still worried about my neighbours, my family and my friends. I’ve never known this many people to have Covid, and it’s scary.”