25th Oct 2020 data update

Key points (see below for full sourcing and more detail):

  • 184 people have tested positive for SARS-COV-2 in October so far (to the 23rd), compared to 76 in the whole of September. That more’s than doubling. Unfortunately, we do not know the number of local tests conducted, but it is extremely unlikely they have more than doubled, and across the South West and the country as a whole we know that the proportion of tests that are positive – not just the number – is rising. Below, the latest numbers for areas within Stroud district are provided.
  • 1,188 people have tested positive across Gloucestershire in October so far, compared to 428 in the whole of September. Across the county a proportion of these tests will be associated with schools, colleges and the University of Gloucestershire – but the increasing numbers suggests outbreaks are not being contained in these places (unsurprisingly, as students and pupils interact with others in their households and wider community).
  • The number of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire is rising – 15 on 20th October, from 13 on the 13th, 7 on the 8th, and 5 on the 1st October.
  • 585 people have died in Gloucestershire with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (ONS filtered data download). Two people have been added to this total since last week. One was from Cotswold district and died in hospital in the week ending 2nd October, and one was from Gloucester and died in a care home, with their death registered in the week ending 9th October. No one from Stroud district has died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate since the week-ending 12th June, when two people from the district’s deaths were registered.
  • Across the UK, 138,373 people tested positive in the week to the 22nd Oct. 106,696 tested positive in the previous week. A total of 865,133 people in the UK have now tested positive at one point since March.
  • The ONS estimate that 1 in every 130 people in England had the virus between 10-16th October.
  • Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 19th Oct was 6,973. A rise of 2,260 (48%) since midnight on the 11th Oct. For comparison, on the 27th March – the earliest data for comparable data, there were 7,043 patients, and at the peak on 12th April 19,849 patients.
  • In England, there were 6,518 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of midnight 19th October. This is higher than the number for 27th March – 6,245 (four days after the national lockdown was announced).
  • 1,304 people died in the UK in the week to the 19th Oct, 646 more than the 658 who died last week, by the PHE “death within 28 days of a positive test” definition (total: 44,714). In other words, the number of people who died almost doubled within a week.
  • Meanwhile, ONS data shows “Of the deaths registered in Week 40 [to the 2nd October], 321 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 3.2% of all deaths in England and Wales; this is an increase compared with Week 39 (when there were 215 deaths involving COVID-19, accounting for 2.2% of all deaths).”
  • The ONS also report that “Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 2 October 2020 was 463,720, which is 54,282 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 2 October, 53,187 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 11.5% of all deaths in England and Wales.” (ONS)
  • Globally, more than 42 million people have tested positive, more than 1.1 million have died with their deaths attributed in some way to Covid-19, and more than 28.5 million people have been deemed to have recovered. Over 1 million positive tests have been reported in 7 countries: Spain, Argentina, France, Russia – and Brazil, India and the US which each have reported over 5 million positive test results.

Local

There have been 50 positive test results associated with someone living in Stroud district providing a specimen in the week up to the 23rd October. However, this figure will not include recent tests – specimens will still be being process. In short, the 50 cannot be considered a ‘drop’ on the 68 positives from the week before (which was 42 at time of writing last week, and there is a chance th 68 figure still doesn’t include all test results). While data is not available for Stroud district on the number of tests done, this rapid rise in positive results cannot be explained purely by an increase in testing – particularly given increased testing took place from May till July and didn’t identify such a trend. More people are testing positive because there are more people who are infected with the virus. It is clear from the charts below that this pattern is occuring across Gloucestershire, the South West, England and the UK – and where data is available it confirms the proportion of tests that return positive results is rising, again indicating the rise is not a function of higher numbers of tests being done.

Source: gov.uk data download

In the most recent week in Gloucestershire there have been 307 positive test results returned so far. This fugure will rise as new results are reported. For the previous week, the number is now 408. While the 408 figure to 16th Oct may still increase, it seems likely most test results for that week should have been returned – so there may be some sign of a levelling off of people testing positive. However, as numbers are still relatively high compared to a few weeks ago, and as the early weeks of rise may have been associated with outbreaks where lots of school pupils / university students tested positive, but the infections may now be producing positives from a larger number of locations, there’s no room for complacency.

Source: gov.uk data download

1,188 people have tested positive across Gloucestershire in October so far, compared to 428 in the whole of September, and 136 in August. Comparisons with March and April are included in the chart below in a different colour – as all of those cases were hospitalised, while since May testing has been for “anyone with symptoms” (and people’s contacts) – in an effort to control the spread of the virus and limit hospitalisations and deaths (see below for data on hospitalisations and deaths). Hence, though the number of positive tests in October is technically higher than April, we know there were far more people with the virus in April than there have been in the past month who were not tested/recorded in this data.

Source: gov.uk data download

There is a new version of the government’s interactive map which shows weekly cases at a more localised scale than districts (an alternative map shows this as dots, which get larger per number of cases rather than being restricted to “400+” as in the map below).

In the most recent week of data, this shows:

  • 9 people testing positive in Nailsworth
  • 7 in Ebley and Randwick
  • 6 in Minchimhampton
  • 5 in Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe
  • 5 in Stroud Town
  • 5 in Berkeley and Sharpness
  • 5 in Dursley
  • 4 in Cam
  • 3 in Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington
  • 3 in Rodborough & Thrupp
  • 3 in Wotton-under-Edge

Where there are fewer than 3 positive tests, numbers are not released (to protect individuals). Hence, we only know there have been 0-2 cases in ; Stonehouse; Upton-St-Leonards; Chalford and Bussage; and Leonard Stanley & Uley.

The highest number of people testing positive per MSOA in Gloucestershire in the past week was in Barton in Gloucester: 18.

As across the country, the number of people admitted to hospital or diagnosed with Covid-19 in hospital is increasing.

The number of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire is rising – 15 on 20th October, from 13 on the 13th, 7 on the 8th, and 5 on the 1st October. You can see that were were many days in September where there were no Covid-19 patients occupying beds locally, but a steady recent rise (the chart below show “the number of beds containing confirmed COVID-19 patients (as at 08:00)”).

Source: NHS Covid-19 Hospital Activity

Data for the South West region is available to the 22nd October – and shows daily hospital admissions are steadily rising. While numbers are lower than for other regions (52 on the 19th Oct is the highest recent daily number for the South West, compared to 276 on the 18th in the North West, and 274 in the North East and Yorkshire on the 20th) – the trend is following a similar trajectory (see national section below).

In October so far there have been 630 Covid-19 admissions to hospital or diagnoses in hospital. 11 of these have come from care homes. The number of admissions and diagnoses is already more than four times (which would be 540) the 135 for the whole of September (0 from care homes).

Estimated number of people with the virus

Alongside positive tests, we can also look to estimates that can cover people who – for whatever reason – do not get tested. The Covid Symptom Study currently estimates (24th October) that 455 people [aged 20-69] may actively have the virus in Stroud district (up from 361 on the 18th, and more than double the 183 I reported on the 3rd Oct).

The Study also estimates 1,135 active cases in South Gloucestershire (up from 852, and nearly triple the 416 on the 3rd), 404 active cases in nearby Gloucester (down from 455 last week), 282 in Cotswold (up from 231), 337 in Cheltenham (down from 396), 447 Tewkesbury (272) and 228 in the Forest of Dean (177). While these estimates show some falls as well as rises, estimates are substantially higher than they were a few weeks ago everywhere in Gloucestershire.

While the Covid Symptom Study app is an authoritative study, with over 4 million people contributing information about their daily health, estimates for local areas will have to be based on small smaples and are estimates – they are made to help us understand the situation, but are not definitive. They are particularly useful as a complement to positive test numbers – which we know do know cover all people with symptoms or who are infectious (but unable to get a test or do not realise they should get one). You can read about how these estimates are made on the Covid Symptom Study website.

There are 3,759 people contributing to the Covid Symptom Study app in the district (fewer than last week). The more people contribute, the more accurate local (and national) estimates will be, and the app is valuable for other reasons – drawing attention to the latest research from the study, for example. It is a different app to the NHS Covid-19 app. Download the ZOE Covid-19 app to a smartphone via this link.

People who have died locally

  • 585 people have died in Gloucestershire with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (ONS filtered data download). Two people have been added to this total since last week. One was from Cotswold district and died in hospital in the week ending 2nd October, and one was from Gloucester and died in a care home, with their death registered in the week ending 9th October.
  • 92 of the 585 people to have died in Gloucestershire with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate were from Stroud district. The figure for Stroud district has thankfully not increased since week 24 (12th June), when two people from the district’s deaths were registered.
  • Nationally, as the chart below shows, the rate at which people are dying with deaths attributed at least in part to Covid-19 is increasing. The default chart uses a “logarithmic” scale to better show the rate of increase, you can switch to “linear” to see that the recent numbers are still relatively low compared to the previous peak (for the time being).

National

The below chart shows that the daily number of new Covid-19 deaths continues to rise in the UK. The chart is interactive, so you can change how it displays and add countries for comparisons.

We’ve been made aware of a website that collates national (and local, and some international) data nicely. This shows, for instance, that the 63.4 new cases per 100,000 people in Stroud district in the latest week’s data puts the area among the lowest in the country – in a large number of areas over 30 cases are being identified every day: e.g. 513.7 in Doncaster. Explore the interactive map yourself.

For a full summary of national data, please watch the Independent SAGE video released on Friday 23rd October.

I’m continuing to see people suggesting that the only reason more people are testing positive is because more tests are being done, so include the chart again below.

Ths is a chart showing the proportion of tests in the UK that are positive. The chart shows how:

  • At the lowest point – at the end of July – just 0.4% of people tested were testing positive, but the proportion testing positive is now over 5% (1 in in every 20 people tested) – 6.7% of people tested on October 20th, tested positive.

While data on the numbers of tests or share of tests that are positive isn’t available for Stroud or Gloucestershire specifically (at least so far), there’s no reason to assume that the same thing isn’t happening here, and no basis for arguing that the only reason we have seen higher numbers of positive tests lately is because there is more testing. We had more testing happening in July than in April but it still identified fewer positives, because the virus wasn’t spreading then.

The charts below from PHE’s “Weekly national Influenza andCOVID-19 surveillance report” (pdf) show the proportion of tests that are positive is rising in all English regions, including the South West (where it has risen from under 10 people per 100,000 tested, to around 75 in every 100,000 people in week 42 (to 16th Oct). Please note that this is just tests for Covid-19 – though the report also includes data on influenza, data is not combined (despite false claims circulating recently).

Source: PHE (pdf)

Across the UK, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals at midnight 19th Oct was 6,973. A rise of 2,260 (48%) since midnight on the 11th Oct. For comparison, on the 27th March – the earliest data for comparable data, there were 7,043 patients, and at the peak on 12th April 19,849 patients.

In England, there were 6,518 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of midnight 19th October. This is higher than the number for 27th March – 6,245 (four days after the national lockdown was announced).

Source: gov.uk dashboard

ONS data shows “Of the deaths registered in Week 41 [to 9th October], 438 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 4.4% of all deaths in England and Wales; this is an increase of 117 deaths compared with Week 40 (when there were 321 deaths involving COVID-19, accounting for 3.2% of all deaths).”

“Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 9 October 2020 was 473,673, which is 54,424 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 9 October, 53,640 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 11.3% of all deaths in England and Wales”. [data on death certificates takes longer to be processed than data by the PHE definition of deaths within 28 days of a positive test].

Each week, the ONS does a testing survey. This goes out like other survey work it isn’t based on symptoms or people seeking a test. This week (9th October they say:

Source: ZOE/KCL COVID Symptom Sutdy

International

As of the 25th October,

  • Nearly 42.5 million people have been confirmed to have SARS-COV-2 (42,457,887)
  • Over 1.1 million people have died (another 36,349 people in the most recent week)
  • Over 28.5 million people have been deemed to have recovered (28,630,738 – however, this figure is likely an underestimate, just as confirmed cases is an underestimate of the number of people to have had the virus – as not everyone has had a test. Also, not all countries keep a track of ‘recoveries’ or do so fully – the UK government for instance only indicates 2,664 people have recovered (86 more than last week), but this is obviously well below the true number of people to have had the virus but survived.
  • Above data is from John Hopkins University.

The chart below compares cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people for selected countries as of the 17th October. Peru has the highest rate at over 1,000 people per million (or more than 1 in every 1,000 people). The UK is among the countries with the highest rates per million people: 659.32 lower than the US (679.45), but higher than Italy (615.43). There are a number of countries with very low rates: Taiwan (0.29), Vietnam (0.36) and Thailand (0.85) have extremely low rates. Rates that are much lower than those in the UK can also be found in other countries in Europe, though even Germany (119.74), Finland (63.71) and Greece (54.11) have done badly compared to the countries with the lowest rates.

You can compare different countries, and see trends over time, using the OurWorldInData website.

Notes

These updates are designed to improve understanding of the pandemic and its impacts, with the hope this can help us to reduce those impacts locally. I appreciate they do not involve space to properly convey the full impact of the virus nor the restrictions that are making life difficult for many people.

Your suggestions for inclusion of data in these summaries are welcome. Please submit posts to our Facebook group.

Please remember we have a list of resources to support your emotional and mental health during this time on our website (and welcome further recommendations). The following numbers may be useful:

  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 0808 2000 247
  • Mind: 0300 123 3393
  • Age UK: 0800 169 6565
  • Childline: 0800 1111.

The core advice remains: please book a test if you have one or more symptoms – a new continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of smell/taste (or if you are asked to by contact tracers or others conducting tests). There is a permanent unit at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and mobile units tour Gloucestershire. We are aware that lots of people have struggled to access tests/getting results – but also that local people have had good experiences accessing tests and getting results. Please persevere and get in touch if you need help. If you have symptoms (or if you are asked to by contact tracers), self-isolate until you have a negative test. If you are struggling with self-isolating, please get in touch with us or with one of the local support groups.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to wear masks when appropriate (they will help prevent spread of the virus if you have it but don’t have symptoms yet, or are asymptomatic – meaning you have the virus but without ever getting any symptoms), keep distance from people, and wash your hands regularly. Access the latest government guidance and FAQ on “Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know” online (last updated 12th October – to take account of new restrictions/advice). If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.