More than 2,000 pupils across Wiltshire are currently infected with Covid, as cases in the county continue to rise.

As of yesterday afternoon (Monday, January 24), there were 354 staff cases and 2,546 pupil Covid cases across the county, and 131 school settings in Wiltshire had breached the threshold where increased measures are necessary.

The majority of these settings where new measures are necessary are primary schools, according to the county’s Public Health director Kate Blackburn who spoke at a press conference this morning (Tuesday January 25).

There have been 4,234 total new cases in the last seven-day period in Wiltshire compared to 4,178 new cases reported in the previous week. 

Mrs Blackburn predicted this ‘uptick' in cases after schools starting, as most in the under 12 age group will not have had a vaccine unless they are deemed at high risk or in a household with someone who is immunosuppressed. 

From January 20, staff and pupils were no longer advised to wear face coverings in classrooms ahead of national restrictions being lifted for everyone on January 27.

Many schools have decided to uphold this rule anyway, and even though the council has not given schools the recommendation to keep wearing masks, they have the power to do so if deemed necessary. 

Mrs Blackburn said: “I think our educational settings are a phenomenal jobs at the moment in trying to balance that risk, of minimising infection and providing good quality education. 

“Our ask really is that people continue to be responsible, as we head into this next phase of the pandemic, and not undo all of the good work that we’ve got to at the moment. 

“Hopefully that will mean everyone living a more normal life, but just being cautious that some people really are more vulnerable to Covid 19 than others and we have to make our decisions with that in mind.”

In terms of whether we have hit a peak yet, Mrs Blackburn said: “I think as a country we are past a peak, whether it’s the peak we don’t know yet. 

“In the South West we did always know we would be lagging behind and then of course you’ve got that time lag again of by the time cases actually turn into people with severe enough illness that warrants hospital admission. 

"We would expect to see that continuing to rise within the acute trust.”