URGENT action is being taken to tackle Covid in a York neighbourhood after the infection rate rose so fast it is now almost off the scale.

Public Health England said yesterday that the seven-day rolling rate for the Westfield, Chapelfields and Foxwood area in the week to January 8 was 1,560.3 per 100,000 population, after 144 cases were confirmed.

The figure was more than double the national average of 629.9, putting it at the top end of a scale of case rate averages across the country.

The next highest rates in York are also on the western side of the city, with 1,116.6 in Clifton Without and Skelton, 1,031.6 in Acomb, and 1,016.9 in Woodthorpe and Acomb Park.

Westfield councillor Andrew Waller said the city’s public health team was proactively responding to the virus rise in the west of York with localised symptom-free testing in Bishopthorpe and in Dringhouses.

He said: “The advice that I have received from the public health team is that this community transmission has moved into neighbouring areas and is beginning to display higher rates.”

He said it was important that as many people as possible who may have contracted the virus were tested. “I have asked for the testing facility at Acorn Rugby Club to be continued to provide access to testing for local residents,” he said.

“It is essential that households do not mix as this has been attributed as a significant factor. For instance, I have had residents recently raise concerns about groups congregating on Acomb Green, which is now being included on the rounds for the Covid Support Marshals.

“As a community we will need to do even more than last March because the new variant is more transmissible, indeed some people locally have reported that despite being extra vigilant and careful the virus has still found its way into their homes.”

He added that he had been working with local schools to ensure that equipment was available to make remote learning accessible to all pupils.