Image Credit: Billy Wilson
The centre of York has experienced an exponential rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the last week. This afternoon, the City of York Council’s Twitter account revealed that York’s rate of new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 has skyrocketed to a rate of 83.1 and this is only just below the national average of 85.5. Scientific experts have cited the Delta variant as the cause of the rapid upsurge in the number of cases and city officials recently confirmed that this variant is now dominant in York.
Public Health England released recent analysis from the MSOA, Middle layer Super Output Areas, which shows that the Fulford and Heslington, alongside Fulford and Clementhorpe, are the areas where the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases has been highest. In the seven days up till 15 June, the Fulford and Heslington area recorded an increase of 12 cases, while the Fulford Road and Clementhorpe area experienced an increase of 16 cases. It is likely that York has only started to face the onset of a third wave and Public Health England’s latest findings reported that the city’s total number of cases stands at 12,806.
In light of the escalating rise in Covid-19 cases, the Academic Registrar’s Office emailed students on Friday to remind students to participate in “regular testing”. On Sunday, the testing centre on West Campus was fully booked and this suggests that students are responding to the greater prevalence of the virus. The email informed students of a “notable increase” in Covid-19 cases “on and off campus” and urged students to “Get tested before you travel” to prevent any “onward transmission”. The email emphasises the importance of not travelling home without taking a test. However, the University of York recognises that students are keen to “socialise and celebrate with friends” as the term draws to a close.
The Academic Registrar’s Office reiterates that there is a wide range of support on offer for students who are unfortunate enough to be asked to self-isolate. Support available to all students includes a £40 Morrison’s voucher and £40 E-voucher, which can be spent on retailers such as Spotify and Deliveroo. More comprehensive support is on offer to students living on campus, as they are entitled to cleaning materials. The fact that students on campus will also receive welfare checks is a sign of the University’s consciousness of the damaging impact isolating can have on each student’s mental health.
Most importantly, vaccinations on campus are now available to all students over 18 years old and registering only requires completing the “Student Covid Vaccine Pre-registration form” using a university email address.