More than 100 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Oldham in 24 hours for the first time in the pandemic as a backlog of cases are added to the statistics.
The grim milestone comes as a technical issue across the UK led to more than 15,000 people not being entered into the Test and Trace system last week, and there was a delay in adding them to the figures between September 25 and October 2.
As a result the numbers of new coronavirus cases in Oldham have soared at the end of last month and the start of October.
Public Health England said the issue had been identified on Friday and the majority of cases occurred in recent days.
Although all those who had positive tests were notified, it has been reported that the computer error may have led to delays in the test and trace system.
The glitch also means that local authorities in Greater Manchester – and the public – have not been aware of the true level of infections over the past ten days.
Oldham has recorded its highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic and the rollout of mass testing in May.
There were 111 new cases confirmed on October 1, with 100 being recorded on September 30.
The infection rate has risen to 237 per 100,000 people as of Sunday, October 4, the fifth highest in Greater Manchester.
Where new cases of coronavirus are being recorded across Oldham. Photo: Public Health England.
However Oldham remains under stricter lockdown measures than much of the rest of the region.
The measures, that were announced by Matt Hancock on August 21, includes a limit of 20 people attending funerals and residents being told to only use public transport for essential travel.
However Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has called on the health secretary to bring the borough in line with other parts of Greater Manchester.
He also said that residents are questioning the effectiveness of the local restrictions, which have been in place now for six weeks – during which the infection rate has more than doubled.
“My constituents are rightly asking whether they are having any impact,” he said.
Quizzed on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was ‘simply too early to say’ whether local lockdowns are working.
“Yes of course I know it’s deeply frustrating for people in Oldham and businesses in Oldham to be labouring under the kind of restrictions that we’ve got, and nobody wants to impose these types of restrictions,” he said.
“But the advice that we’re getting is that in these areas where we’ve got a local lockdown, stringent local lockdowns, we need to wait and see whether the R starts to come down.
“Because some of these things have been intensified just in the last few days, so you’ve got to wait and see whether the rate of infection starts to come down.”
Almost every part of Oldham is recording three or more coronavirus cases, according to the government heat map.
Werneth has overtaken Alexandra Park to become the borough’s biggest hotspot with 64 cases in the week to September 30.
Alexandra Park saw 42 new cases of the virus in the same period, followed by Limeside and Garden Suburb with 21.
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