MORE than 1,500 Covid cases were found in Herefordshire during the final week of free universal testing in England, the latest figures show.

In the week to Thursday, March 31, a UK Government heatmap showed the areas in Herefordshire with the highest number of new Covid cases.

Cases rose in just four of Herefordshire's 23 areas compared with data from March 24 as testing was wound down across England.

Current coronavirus hotspots in the county, those with the highest infection rates, include:

  • Leominster North
  • Colwall, Cradley and Wellington Heath
  • Hereford North West (areas such as Westfields and Bobblestock)
  • Ross-on-Wye
  • Wigmore, Orleton and Brimfield

The infection rate – the number of cases per 100,000 people – for those areas were all above the UK average of 747.8.

The map breaks Herefordshire down into 23 sections known as middle super output areas.

These are used to try and improve the reporting of small area statistics, with an average population of around 7,200 people in England and Wales.

Herefordshire reported 1,709 cases in the seven days to March 31, giving it an infection rate of 882.7 cases per 100,000 people.

That was 355 fewer cases than the week before when the infection rate was 1,066.0. A fortnight ago it was 863.1.

The only four areas to see a rise in cases were Ross-on-Wye; Wigmore, Orleton and Brimfield; Leominster North; and Colwall, Cradley and Wellington Heath.

Seven–day rates are expressed per 100,000 population and are calculated by dividing the seven-day count by the area population and multiplying by 100,000. This helps when comparing rates across the county.

The Government ditched free tests for all in England, with only certain groups now eligible, but latest figures do not yet cover the period since that move on April 1.

In the seven days to March 28, an average of 2,789.1 tests, either lab-processed PCRs or rapid lateral flows, were taken each day.

But in the seven days to February 28, a month before, that number stood at 2,367.6.