One area of Berkshire is experiencing its highest ever coronavirus infection rates, with a leading councillor urging people to take tests and get vaccinated to fight the virus.

The coronavirus infection rate, that is, the number of people who have tested positive per 100,000, is the highest it has ever been in Wokingham.

The infection rates reached their peak in the area at 619.2 confirmed cases per 100,000 people recorded on Wednesday, October 13.

That is the highest it has been since the height of the ‘third wave’ in January of this year, where the infection rate in the area hit 569.7.

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Now, Councillor Charles Margetts (Conservative, Finchampstead North) has called for people to re-take Covid-19 tests after ‘false negative’ results have been recorded at two of Berkshire’s testing sites.

Cllr Margetts, Wokingham Borough Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services said:  “Covid-19 infection rates are the highest they’ve ever been in the borough and are continuing to rise. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced at the end of last week that PCR tests completed at testing sites including the Newbury Showground and Mereoak Park & Ride have been processed at the private laboratory where testing has been suspended due to reports of negative PCR results after positive lateral flow tests (false negative results).

“As a result, since early September a proportion of residents have not isolated when infectious as they have been told, in error, that their Covid test was negative, which has contributed to an increase in transmission within the borough.

“Anyone affected will have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace over the weekend and asked to re-test. Whilst the full impact of these false negative test results is not yet clear, we anticipate that as residents re-test, the Covid case rate will be driven up further, both within our borough and also in the neighbouring boroughs of West Berkshire and Reading. This is the pattern currently being seen across the South West as a result of re-testing. Please note that the lab has now stopped processing samples, and residents should continue to use these testing sites with confidence.

“The cases are predominantly impacting school-age children and their families. Our Children’s Services Taskforce has taken a proactive approach; working closely with schools, identifying outbreaks early and encouraging testing across settings. This ensures that children who test positive stay home and isolate, minimising onward transmission within the school setting. Our teams are going above and beyond to support schools during this stressful time, and are in daily contact with headteachers by phone, email and virtual meetings, providing advice, guidance and important information to share with parents, carers and guardians.

READ MORE: The area in Berkshire that has more vaccinated teenagers than anywhere else

“The Covid-19 vaccine offers the best defence against the virus. Over 18s need both doses for maximum protection, and anyone eligible for the booster jab will be contacted by the NHS in the coming months. The school-based vaccination programme is going well, with Wokingham Borough showing the highest take-up in Berkshire. As it takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, we are hoping to see the impact of this within our schools after half term.  If your child missed the vaccine, it has been announced that walk-in vaccine clinics for 12 to 15-year-olds are expected to launch in England within weeks, so keep an eye out for more information on this.

“With half-term around the corner, we are urging all our residents to remain cautious when mixing with friends and family. The chances of catching and spreading the virus remains high, especially when crowded together indoors. Please wear a face covering when socialising in indoor venues and try to meet outside where Covid-19 particles can blow away. If you are meeting inside, ventilation is crucial, even in the Autumn months – so open windows and doors to allow fresh air to flow through.

“We’ve come a long way in the fight against Covid-19, but it isn’t over yet. Let’s continue to do everything we can to stay safe while cases are high and rising, and protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Wokingham coronavirus statistics

Latest cases reported at time of writing (Monday, October 18): 156

Latest infection rate per 100,000 people (Wednesday, October 13): 619.2

Total confirmed cases: 17,808

Wokingham Borough has just recorded its highest ever coronavirus infection rate.

Coronavirus statistics elsewhere in Berkshire 

There is also an increase in cases in every other area of Berkshire.

In figures posted yesterday on the Public Health Berkshire Dashboard, the highest number of cases were recorded in West Berkshire, where 194 cases were confirmed.

Bracknell Forest was the only area of Berkshire which recorded less than 100 Covid-19 cases on that day (Monday, October 18).

See below for a breakdown of the latest Covid-19 statistics for each area:


Latest cases reported at time of writing (Monday, October 18): 78

Latest infection rate per 100,000 people (Wednesday, October 13): 430.9

Total confirmed cases: 13,701

West Berkshire 

Latest cases reported at time of writing (Monday, October 18): 194

Latest infection rate per 100,000 people (Wednesday, October 13): 446.2

Total confirmed cases: 14,209

Nearly 200 people tested positive for coronavirus yesterday (Monday, October 18.)


Latest cases reported at time of writing (Monday, October 18): 130

Latest infection rate per 100,000 people (Wednesday, October 13): 442.8

Total confirmed cases: 20,559


Latest cases reported at time of writing (Monday, October 18): 101

Latest infection rate per 100,000 people (Wednesday, October 13): 432.6

Total confirmed cases: 22,985

Windsor and Maidenhead 

Latest cases reported at time of writing (Monday, October 18): 119

Latest infection rate per 100,000 people (Wednesday, October 13): 461.4

Total confirmed cases: 16,847