Four more people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales and the nation’s infection rate has dropped below a key benchmark for the first time in more than six months.

The latest daily update from Public Health Wales (PHW) on Thursday, March 25 recorded 227 new positive cases in the last 24-hour period, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 208,504.

The infection rate across Wales is now 39.1 cases per 100,000 of population based on the seven days up to March 20, which is down from 40.5 on Wednesday.

It is the first time in more than six months it has been below 40 – the last time was on September 16 last year – and comes after nearly a month in which the fall in the infection rate had been stalled between 40 and 50 cases for every 100,000 people in the last week.

The percentage of tests coming back with positive results is now further below the key 5% benchmark at 3.2% in the last seven days.

The data show that 1,320,188 people have now received a first dose of the vaccine and a further 378,795 have had both jabs.

Dr Eleri Davies, incident director for the novel coronavirus outbreak response at PHW, said the significant rise in new cases from 159 the day before can be attributed to a reporting delay.

She explained: “The Public Health Wales Covid-19 data on the public-facing dashboard includes 33 new positive results from tests carried out on January 25.

“The reporting of these tests was delayed because of a discrepancy between different data views which has been investigated and there are now processes in place to help identify such issues.

“Individuals received their results in the normal way, and will have been contacted by their local test, trace, protect (TTP) teams at the time and told to self isolate.

“The results were split across several health board areas, but with larger numbers (11) in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.”

The number of people who have died with coronavirus in Wales within a month of a positive test is now at 5,495.

Uptake of the first vaccine dose by priority group (according to PHW):

Care home residents: 12,271 (95.9%) Care home workers: 33,147 (87.6%) Healthcare workers: 129,082 (90.8%) Social care workers: 42,672 80 years and older: 166,421 (94.8%) 75-79 years: 127,223 (95.4%) 70-74 years: 174,225 (94.8%) Clinically extremely vulnerable 16-69 years: 74,280 (91%) 65-69 years: 166,852 (92.5%) Clinical risk groups 16-64 years: 257,059 (73.6%) 60-64 years: 174,033 (84.7%) 55-59 years: 134,516 (57.6%) 50-54 years: 93,438 (41%)

Key details

Deaths reported today: Four Cases reported today: 227 (up from 159)
Total deaths with lab-confirmed coronavirus in Wales: 5,495 Total number of people who have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine: 1,320,188 Total number of people who have received a two-dose course of Covid-19 vaccine: 378,795

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Swansea saw the highest number of new cases reported on Wednesday with 39 followed by Cardiff with 26, Newport with 14, Merthyr Tydfil with 13, Carmarthenshire, Wrexham and Flintshire with 11, and Caerphilly with 10.

Gwynedd and Neath Port Talbot had nine new cases, Anglesey and Bridgend had eight, Monmouthshire, Conwy, RCT and Powys had seven, Vale of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire had six, Denbighshire had four, Torfaen had three and Blaenau Gwent had one.

Ceredigion reported no new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

Cases per 100,000 based on seven-day rolling average (March 14to March 20):

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Blaenau Gwent: 74.4 (up from 68.7)

Newport: 51.1 (down from 53)

Caerphilly: 46.4 (down from 46.9)

Torfaen: 16 (down from 18.1)

Monmouthshire: 14.8 (up from 13.7)

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Conwy: 52 (up from 51.2)

Anglesey: 94.2 (down from 101.4)

Gwynedd: 36.1 (down from 41.7)

Denbighshire: 24 (down from 26.1)

Flintshire: 66.6 (down from 71.7)

Wrexham: 33.8 (unchanged)

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Cardiff: 33 (down from 33.3)

Vale of Glamorgan: 32.2 (down from 38.2)

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

Merthyr Tydfil: 127.6 (up from 112.7)

Rhondda Cynon Taf: 21.6 (down from 22.4)

Bridgend: 16.3 (down from 19)

Hywel Dda University Health Board

Carmarthenshire: 28.1 (down from 30.7)

Pembrokeshire: 30.2 (down from 32.6)

Ceredigion: 9.6 (down from 11)

Powys Teaching Health Board

Powys: 16.6 (up from 15.9)

Swansea Bay University Health Board

Neath Port Talbot: 50.2 (up from 46.8)

Swansea: 49 (down from 53.4)

Wales total: 39.1 (down from 40.5)

Dr Davies added: “Supermarkets can now sell non-essential items and garden centres can open in Wales. This slight easing of Covid lockdown rules is encouraging and while the level of infection across Wales has declined in recent weeks, there are still several areas which have significantly higher rates.

“Public Health Wales, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Isle of Anglesey County Council are working to offer additional coronavirus testing in Holyhead and Holy Island, including lateral flow tests for secondary school students and their linked households, and home-delivered PCR tests for local residents. This case-finding aims to find undetected infections to control and reduce the transmission in this area.

“In many areas of Wales, the numbers of cases are falling. It is now so important that we don’t throw away the substantial gains that we have made, and I would like to send a clear message to everyone that coronavirus hasn’t disappeared and there are still a large number of people who have not been vaccinated. In order to protect everyone, including the most vulnerable, we must all stick to the rules.

“Welsh Government restrictions state that you should not go into any other household or mix indoors with other people who you don’t live with.

“If you are contacted by your local TTP team then it is important that you are truthful with them about where you have been and who you have met. They are not there to judge, they are there to help prevent ongoing transmission of the virus and to protect the community.

“If you are asked to self-isolate by your local TTP team then please ensure that you do so for the full ten days – this will help break any chains of transmission.

“We encourage everyone, whatever their background, social demographic and ethnicity, to have the vaccine when they are offered it.”

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