Blackburn is facing a “rising tide” of coronavirus cases, centred on its large Asian community, with two weeks to get the numbers down before lockdown measures are reversed, the area’s public health director warned.
The Lancashire town brought in extra restrictions on Tuesday and Professor Dominic Harrison, the local authority’s director of public health, said the borough of 148,000 people was facing a “rising tide” of cases.
Prof Harrison, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said: “We have what we call a rising tide event rather than an outbreak, and by that we mean that we’ve got a number of cases rising in specific areas across a significant community, but not a single big outbreak like Kirklees or other areas that had a workplace outbreak.”
“It can have the same effect because it can drive up the cases, but what we are seeing from looking at the postcode data of those cases is, in the last couple of weeks, is that what we are seeing is a single case being infected, then going back to a household and all that household becoming infected.”
“And when we look at the data what we can see is clusters in a part of the town, but the clusters are household clusters, so a number of those are causing the rising tide event and we know that they are in mainly south-Asian areas, and they are in areas with high number of terraced houses with high numbers of occupants in the house, so four or more, five or more people in the household.”
He said the Blackburn with Darwen borough, which has an Asian population of about 28%, had 114 cases in the last two weeks and 97 of those cases are in people of south Asian descent.