THE Royal Borough’s health lead explains why there was a small uptick in Covid-19 cases in the borough as the vaccination programme ramps up.

Coming to the end of March, the Royal Borough’s cases per 100,000 population was pointing in the wrong direction while most other Berkshire areas were continuing to decline.

At its peak, the borough reached 68 cases per 100,000.

The current infection rate is 44.2 per 100,000.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, councillor Stuart Carroll, lead member for health and social care, as well as being an epidemiologist and on the UK vaccine taskforce, explained why there was a small uptick in coronavirus cases.

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He said: “It’s highly possible that we’re doing a lot more testing within the borough, and that is fully up and running and proven to be very successful, we are catching more cases.

“One in three cases approximately will be asymptomatic, so we’re doing more testing and are able to catch those cases and that may feed through into the data and that could also be a potential reason for slightly higher level of reported cases.”

He added there is sometimes a lag between when people have contracted the virus and then tested, which would then be reported as a coronavirus case.

Meanwhile, the Royal Borough has vaccinated nearly half of its population, according to the latest NHS figures.

As of April 1, over 72,300 people have received their first jab, which equates to 48 per cent of the borough’s population.

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The Royal Borough has the third-highest vaccine uptake in Berkshire, only to be behind West Berkshire and Wokingham.

Cllr Carroll said: “It’s pleasing there has been high vaccine confidence and high vaccine uptake and I think the messaging that we as a local authority with NHS colleagues has been effective.

“But, of course, we want to ensure every single person who is eligible to be vaccinated goes and get vaccinated and it’s important that we continue with that messaging.

“We must seek to ensure that the message gets to harder to reach groups about ensuring that they do get access to the vaccine and they get vaccinated.

“It’s very important that all groups and communities get vaccinated because every single one of us is susceptible to getting this virus and this is the only way to ensure the transmission of the virus is significantly curtailed, pushed back, and we can move to a new normal sooner rather than later.”