A NORTHERN cluster of coronavirus infections fuelled by the Delta variant is spreading across the region, data shows.
Across the country 81 per cent of local authorities have seen a rise in rates in the last seven days with just 18 per cent witnessing a fall in infections.
Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire continues to have the highest rate of infections in the country, with 867 new cases in the seven days to June 5 – the equivalent of 579.2 cases per 100,000 people.
This is up from 438.9 in the seven days to May 29.
Rossendale in Lancashire has the second highest rate, up slightly from 312.0 to 320.4, with 229 new cases.
Bolton in Greater Manchester has the third highest, down from 378.4 to 310.6, with 893 new cases.
Areas in the region make up the top 16 of most infected places in the country, with Bedford in the East of England coming in at number 17 after being an area of concern for public health officials.
The Delta variant has meant that surge testing and increased vaccine capacity has been rolled out.
Residents in Manchester and Lancashire have been hit with new coronavirus rules this week being told to “minimise” travel in and out of the areas, which have been hit with a spike in cases.
There are five areas in the region that have witnessed a big jump in cases in the last seven days.
South Ribble in Lancashire increased from 114.6 infections per 100,000 to 285.2.
All Lancashire areas, apart from Blackpool, have been issued with new guidance due to the Delta variant.
Lancashire County Council’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, last week urged the government to give Lancashire extra capabilities, the type that had already been seen in other areas such as Bolton.
Dr Karunanithi said that Lancashire had “always been vulnerable” during the pandemic and that a “gaping hole” had been left in terms of support it had been given by the government.
Burnley, also in Lancashire, has jumped from 126 to 286.8 and Blackburn with Darwen has witnessed as increase from 438.9 to 579.2.
Stockport in Greater Manchester has also seen an uptick in cases in the last week, going from 80.4 to 203.5.
The director of public health in the area previously said that 90 per cent of new cases in Stockport had been down to the Indian variant.
Dr Jennifer Connolly said that the prevalence of the strain was “of concern”.
The fifth area is Ribble Valley in Lancashire, where cases have jumped from 152.7 to 272.6.
While the five places above have seen a rapid increase, areas in the region such as Manchester, Preston, Bury, Chorley, Pendle, Wigan and Trafford are also witnessing high case rates.
On a daily basis, 2,112 people are testing positive for Covid each day in the North West.
The region is followed by London, where 994 people are testing positive each day.
Yorkshire and The Humber is seeing 707 positive tests a day, 506 in the South East, 454 in the West Midlands, 342 in the East Midlands, 302 in the North East and 275 in the South West.
The East is reporting the lowest number of daily new cases, with 227 daily.
Experts have previously warned that infections lead to hospitalisations and data also shows that the North West has the highest number of people being admitted to hospital with the virus each day.
The region has over forty times more hospital admissions each day than the South West.
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Government data shows that each day, 45 patients are being admitted to hospital in the North West with Covid.
In London 27 people a day are being admitted, 16 in the North East and Yorkshire, 13 in the Midlands, 10 in the East, nine in the South East and just one in the South West.
Yesterday it was reported that Covid cases in the UK rose by 7,540 in the highest leap in daily infections since February.
The latest number puts the total number of cases since the pandemic began at 4,535,754.