Further call for 18 - 29 year olds to get tested as cases in Oxford now highest in the south-east

Additional COVID-19 testing facilities for people aged 18 - 29 in Oxford will continue to be available after cases in the city jumped from 296 to 946 this week (ending 2 July), with 80 per cent falling in this age group.

Oxford City’s cases are now firmly in the top ten in the entire country and the highest in the south-east with a rate of 620.5 cases per 100,000 people – this compares to a rate of 56.4 per 100,000 in the city as recently as 4 June.

More than a thousand young people took part in PCR testing at temporary facilities over the weekend. Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council is asking for more people aged 18 - 29 to now take part with three walk-in mobile testing units open for business from Tuesday 6 July - Sunday 11 July, 10am - 8pm (no appointment is needed):

  • South Park (St Clement’s end)
  • The Blavatnik School of Government, Walton Street (on the right hand side of the front of the building)
  • Manzil Way Gardens, Cowley Road.

The testing centres at Oxford Brookes University and Osney Lane are also open every day 8am - 8pm, including for those without symptoms, but people need to book an appointment on gov.uk.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “Cases in Oxford in the last seven days have risen over three-fold and this comes on top of large rises in recent weeks. The overall rise in cases over the last month has been exceptionally steep.

“Oxford is now a COVID hotspot for the whole of England and we have seen nothing like this since the big spike in cases at Christmas. We must do all we can to get on top of this situation together working with central government, which is very much aware of the rise we are experiencing.

“Around 80 per cent of our cases in Oxford are 18 - 29 year olds so we are urging anyone in this age group to get a PCR test this week. Thank you to all those who took part in testing at the weekend – this was a fantastic effort – but please help us spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues of the same age to come along and do the same.

“If you are aged 18 - 29 living in Oxford, please get a test to keep safe while you are waiting to get full protection from your vaccinations and play your part in stopping the spread of the virus. Cases around the county are at lower levels but they too are rising. Rates in the over 60s are still comparatively low but they have risen four-fold over the last week.

“As the government announced yesterday, we are on track for society to reopen fully on 19 July but regular testing and completing the vaccination programme remain the nation’s long-term plan for living with COVID-19. If you haven’t already, please take up your offer of a first vaccination.”

The vaccination of all adults over the age of 18 continues. Walk-in clinics in Oxford have delivered over 800 first dose COVID-19 vaccinations to people aged 18 or over as part of the ‘grab a jab’ weekend (26/27 June). To date, over 765,500 COVID-19 vaccinations have been delivered in Oxfordshire since the start of the programme.

More walk-in clinics will be available to those aged 18 or over for first dose vaccines:

  • Iffley Road Sports Centre, Acer Nethercott Hall, Iffley Rd, Cowley, Oxford OX4 1EQ, Tuesday 6 July - Friday 9 July, 9.30am to 7.30pm. The last entry is at 7pm apart from Friday 9 July which closes at 6pm, last entry at 5.30pm. Enter via pedestrian walkway from Iffley Road, not from Jackdaw Lane.
  • East Oxford Health Centre, Manzil Way, Cowley OX4 1GE on Saturday 10 July, 9am - 5pm.
  • University Club on Mansfield Road,  Wednesday, 7 July, 10am - 8pm and Thursday 8 July and Friday, 9 July, 9am - 8pm

All the latest on walk-in clinics can be found at oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk

No appointment is necessary, and no proof of identity is required (although helpful) to allow people aged 18 or over to ‘grab a jab.’

People who attend a walk-in clinic for their first dose will have their vaccination record updated online and will then be able to book in their second dose appointment using the national booking system.

If you are aged 18 or over, you can also book a vaccination on the national booking service (people do not need to wait to be invited).

Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Oxford is now top of national league tables for COVID and it is a situation we need to tackle collectively as individuals, friends, colleagues and families. The national situation is clearly moving from rules and roadmaps to personal responsibility and common sense.

“With this spike in cases in mind, I would therefore urge everyone to continue to do the things that are tried and tested in terms of keeping us safer – keep a distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, socialise outdoors where possible and keep indoor spaces ventilated. Let’s confront this rise in cases together and drive the numbers back down.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, added: “The situation in Oxford is very serious. We now have the highest rate of infections in the south-east, and we are among the highest in the whole of England. We have urgently called for extra resources to get on top of the problem. I am asking everyone to help bring the infection rates down. 

"Eighty per cent of the cases are in the 18 - 29 age group so we are asking everyone in this age group to please come to one of the walk in PCR testing sites that are being deployed this week to make sure you know your COVID status and can self-isolate if positive. Don’t forget it is possible to be positive and putting others at risk without having symptoms yourself.

“When restrictions ease on 19 July, the virus will have even more opportunity to spread. We also still have a high percentage of people in Oxford who are unvaccinated in some areas of the city. With case rates rising this could mean people getting very ill. Our communities have been great at looking after each other this last year, and young people deserve particular credit for supporting their elders. 

"Anyone aged 18 or over who hasn’t yet had their first jab can now book an appointment through the NHS website. Please don’t lose focus now - we must still keep protecting each other.”

Case rates across Oxfordshire per 100,000 population:

  • Cherwell: 176.7
  • Oxford: 620.5
  • South Oxfordshire: 206.3
  • Vale of White Horse: 147.8
  • West Oxfordshire: 139.2