CALLS have been made for the Welsh Government to take urgent action to avoid the need for a full local lockdown in Wrexham as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Although there was only a modest increase of three COVID-19 cases in the area today, health officials said the figures did not include the results of around 400 tests carried out at two new mobile testing centres.

Almost 200 people attended each of the sites in Hightown and Caia Park, which are being run by the army, yesterday.

They were established after more than 100 cases were reported in Wrexham within the last fortnight, accounting for just under a third of the overall total for Wales.

Plaid Cymru wants ministers in Cardiff to intervene by introducing a requirement for people to wear face coverings in busy areas of the town, as well as intensive targeted testing.

It follows Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board confirming to politicians that three of the five COVID-19 related deaths recorded in the region on Wednesday were at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Two further deaths were reported in north Wales today, although the exact location has not been disclosed.

Plaid’s shadow health minister Rhun ap Iorwerth said his party’s suggestions could prevent the need for a full local lockdown such as the one seen in Leicester, asking for free face coverings to be distributed to the public.

It follows similar actions being taken following a significant amount of cases in Blackburn.

He said: “With Covid-19 levels in Wrexham now higher than in Blackburn, and three out of the five deaths yesterday in Wales at the Maelor Hospital, it’s crucial that the Welsh Government responds promptly with interventions to prevent further transmissions.

“Following a similar model to that in place in Blackburn – with targeted testing in problematic areas and the mandatory use of face coverings in busy and critical areas – could prevent the need for a full local lockdown such as in Leicester.

“The measures in Blackburn have so far succeeded in lowering the spike in cases.

“As well as making face coverings mandatory, consideration should also be given to distributing them to the public for free so that everyone can adhere to these temporary safety measures.”

He said Deeside’s coronavirus field hospital should be opened up to take the pressure off the Maelor hospital, where infections acquired by patients during their stay have become a concern.

The health board has confirmed there are currently 63 people staying in the hospital who have the virus as of today.

Authorities are also looking at whether the spike in cases is linked to a previous outbreak at the Rowan Foods factory on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

Meanwhile, localised clusters of the virus are said to have been detected in the two areas where testing centres have been set up.

Responding to Mr ap Iorwerth’s comments, a Welsh Government spokesperson said it was not currently considering introducing a lockdown in Wrexham, but would take additional steps if required.

They said: “Action to contain any spread will always be taken at the most local level possible and any national direction would always be a last resort.

“Outbreak control teams are in place in Wrexham. One is focused on Wrexham Maelor Hospital where a range of actions are being taken around infection prevention and control at the hospital site and the other is considering cases in the wider community.

“From yesterday they have significantly increased testing in the area through mobile testing units for the general public and to support contact tracing.

“We are monitoring the situation and will take extra measures if needed.”

Betsi Cadwaladr’s executive director of nursing and midwifery has urged anyone concerned about in-hospital infections to get in contact with the health board.

Gill Harris also insisted most recent cases were down to people contracting the virus within the community.

She said: “We have had a high incidence of patients contracting COVID-19 at the hospital in recent weeks and people are understandably anxious about this.

“We would encourage anyone with concerns to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Support Service on 03000 851 234, or email

“We are confident that the infection prevention measures we have put in place are helping to reduce hospital transmission.

“The majority of new cases identified in the past few days have been as a result of community transmission of the virus.”