GPs in Ledbury are asking patients to start wearing facemasks again to counter the rising number of Covid cases in the town.

According to the most recent figures, there were 31 cases in the Ledbury area in the seven days to July 1, the highest number since mid-April.

The total number of cases in Herefordshire over the most recent seven-day period, according to Government data, was 490.

The spike in cases has led Ledbury Health Partnership, like other practices in the county, to bring back mask-wearing.

A message on the partnership’s website says: “Please be aware that due to increasing levels of Covid, we have taken the decision to return to wearing facemasks in all of our buildings.

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“Unless you are exempt, please ensure you arrive for your appointment wearing a mask, to help protect yourself and others. Thank you for your understanding.”

GPs at Ledbury Health Partnership confirmed that infection levels of Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 have risen steadily, and have been dominant since mid-June.

Increase in staff absences at Ledbury GP practice

“The increase is due to the rules on social distancing, and in particular, mask wearing being relaxed,” said a spokesperson.

“We have seen an increase in staff absences due to Covid, and we reintroduced mask wearing throughout our buildings at the beginning of last week.”

The surgery has these tips on how to avoid contracting Covid: 

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19 – everyone aged 5 and over can book vaccination appointments now
  • Meet people outside if possible
  • Open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside
  • Limit the number of people you meet and avoid crowded places
  • Wear a face covering when it's hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day

Ryeland Surgery in Leominster has said staff are continuing to wear masks and is asking patients to do the same.

GPs across the border in Worcestershire are also asking patients to mask-up again as they are hit by staff absences.