SWINDON'S health chief has urged people not to ‘spread the horror of Covid’ this Halloween as the case rate in the town remains the highest in the south west.

Youngsters and families are expected to be out and about this weekend attending parties and trick or treating.

But the borough council’s director of public health Steve Maddern has asked them to follow hand, face, space guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

He said: “It’s Halloween and we know that there’s probably lots of events going on across Swindon this weekend.

"So the key message is please remember that if you are going out and about or attending events, or even thinking about parties, make sure that you are testing using lateral flow test before you go.

“If you have symptoms, or you have Covid where you do test positive using lateral flow, then you must isolate and book a PCR.

"So don’t go and spread the horror of Covid to those parties.”

Swindon is the area with the highest case rate in the south west with 924.7 cases per 100,000 people on Friday – a 2.9 per cent decrease compared to the previous week.

But Mr Maddern urged: “If children are out and about trick or treating, just be mindful that we are seeing a degree of community transmission.

"So if you are going out, please take lots of hand sanitiser with you, keep socially distanced when you are knocking on doors – and ideally – you should be wearing a face covering as well.

“Be very mindful of people in your community that may be vulnerable.

"So, they may not potentially open the door to you.

“There are people that are effectively trying to minimise their contact and there’s probably a piece of advice there around 'why not just celebrate Halloween at home?'.

“If you are aiming to celebrate inside, take the opportunity to ventilate your spaces and remember the core messages.”

Earlier this week, the case rate in Swindon exceeded 1,000 cases per 100,000.

Following the slight drop in numbers, Mr Maddern said: “We are going in the right direction, but we are still extremely high in regard to case rates.

“This puts us as the highest in the south west and puts us as the highest English local authority in the data tables.

“We are over twice as high as the England average at the moment and higher than the south west average as well.”

A total of 27,925 people have been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic started.

And four people died in Swindon from Covid in the last week, bringing the total to 299.

“What we know about our cases is that they still remain consistently high in the 10 to 14 year-olds, and the 15 to 19-year-olds, followed by the 40 to 49 year-olds, which would suggest that household linkage there,” Mr Maddern said.

According to the recent figures, 50 per cent of the cases are being recorded in the SN2, SN3, SN5, SN6 and SN25 areas.

He added: “The case rate in Swindon remains high although it is slowly starting to reduce as we’ve seen through the figures in the last seven days and the modelling suggest that this will continue to drop as we head into the first week of November.

“The messaging still remains very strong and consistent, that we, as residents, need to look after ourselves to look after each other.

“And as we head into the winter, make sure you’ve had your Covid vaccine but also make sure you’ve had your flu vaccine if you’re eligible as well.”