Writing for the Chronicle Live on Thursday 17 June 2021, Kali Lindsay reported that, as Durham University deals with an outbreak of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the City, with over 700 cases recorded in one week, has become the North East Covid hotspot.

Durham City becomes North East Covid hotspot as university battles Delta variant outbreak

The city's infection rate has soared above 700 after 108 cases were recorded within one week

Durham City has become a North East coronavirus hotspot as the university battles a Delta variant outbreak.

Public Health England figures show 108 cases were recorded in the week leading up to June 12 - an increase of 620% on the previous week.

The city now has an infection rate of 746.2 per 100,000 people which is the highest in County Durham, Sunderland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle and Northumberland.

It comes as Durham University asked students to take three Covid tests a week after a “significant” outbreak of the Delta variant. 

The university said there have been a “rising number of coronavirus cases amongst our community recently” and appealed for students to take action to stop the spread.

Figures from the university show there have been 202 positive cases amongst students and two with staff in the 14 days between June 3 and June 16.

he university states the figures are taken from all staff and students and not just those living, studying and working on campus or in Durham City.

Durham students are now being asked to take one PCR test a week, even if they have no symptoms, as well as two lateral flow tests. 

In an email to students, the university said the outbreak “may impact on events we have planned for the rest of term”.

The email said: “As you may be aware, there has been a rising number of coronavirus cases amongst our student community recently.

“We now have a significant outbreak of the Delta variant, and we need you to take action now to prevent further transmission of the virus.

“You should continue to be vigilant in following the Covid-19 guidance, even as you enjoy the opportunities that the end of term and previous easing of restrictions bring.”

It added: “We strongly encourage you to take two LFTs per week.

“Testing at our central sites also enables you to access in-person wider student experience events and activities.

“In addition to this, and as part of the wider response to rising Covid-19 cases in Durham City, we (along with Durham County Council and Public Health England), now request that you take one PCR test each week, even if you have no symptoms."

Durham City becomes North East Covid hotspot as university battles Delta variant outbreak - Chronicle Live