CEREDIGION’S spike in Covid-19 cases is claimed to be linked to the student population.
by Katy Jenkins, BBC Local Democracy Reporter
County council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn said on Tuesday (October 6) that there had been 130 cases throughout the pandemic in Ceredigion with more test results awaited in the Aberystwyth area “as a result of the students that have been enjoying themselves on the beach.”
She told cabinet members “the good news is that the outbreak among the students has not spread into the community. The cases have been limited to the campus and the student houses.”
Cllr ap Gwynn added that some face to face teaching was starting at Aberystwyth University but the “message has gone out that the have to be careful.”
At Tuesday’s virtual meeting cabinet heard that the county’s schools all remained open, although Ysgol Gynradd Penllwyn, Capel Bangor had self-isolated for 14 days last month.
Additional resources for university towns had been made available from Welsh Government, with a walk in test site in use in Aberystwyth as well as a drive in centre.
There was also extra funding expected for contact and trace services, which had been “working hard” in Ceredigion.
Cllr ap Gwynn also clarified why the council had closed its leisure centres, referring to evidence of airborne spread of Covid-19.
Leisure centre users “exert more effort and there’s more of a danger you will transmit the virus to others nearby.”
‘Safe zones’ will continue in three county towns until the end of October half term when consultation with business and the public on how to move on will be held, cabinet heard.
Students have reacted with incredulity at the claims and voiced their disappointment that vital provisions such as temperature checks and testing kits were not made available until after cases had been identified at the university.
One student who did not wish to be named said: “We arrived and were not met by anyone. We did not have our temperatures checked. The first we knew about positive cases was on social media between halls. People had no idea what was going on or what they should do. There wasn’t anywhere to get tested unless you had a car to go to a drive-thru testing area. Blaming the students is a little like blaming the fox when you deliberately left the chicken shed open.”
Welsh Government have said that they are now establishing a walk in test centre in Aberystwyth.