No time for a full roundup from our Facebook group this week, but don’t miss SCCR Team Member Polly Stratton’s latest post on “a whole academic term of home learning“. Hugely recommended to anyone with school-age children at home at the moment – and even to those who don’t have them (it’s a thoughtful post on what we’re all going through at the moment). Please comment on your experiences, and find further posts that may be of interest collated under our parenting and education topics).
- Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total, there have been 103,041 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire: 100,000 first doses (37,860 in the past week), and 2,923 (155 in the past week) second doses. These have covered: 94.9% of Gloucestershire residents aged 80+ with first dose, 3.7% with a second dose. 87.2% aged 75-79, 0.1% second dose; 26.4% aged 70-74, 0.1% second dose; 12.4% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose, 0.3% have had a second dose.
- 124 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 5th February. It looks like the number of people testing postive each week is flat, or at best – falling slowly (read on for more detail: it seems infection numbers are rising in Ebley and Randwick, Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington, and Rodborough & Thrupp in particular – though there is no cause for complacency anywhere.
- Across Gloucestershire, 646 people tested positive in the week to the 5th Feb – and there is a clearer falling trend
- In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 22nd January – shows that 995 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate. 168 of these people were from the Stroud district. We send our condolences to all affected.
People who have tested positive
This week we’re going to present some data for each of the parts of Stroud district. But first, let’s start with a simple top-line view: the number of individual people living in Gloucestershire who tested positive, for each month since the start of the pandemic. Obviously, the number of tests done has risen – and in the first wave very few of the people who had the virus were tested. Differences in the numbers being tested have been much less significant since October – but nonetheless there has been a rapid increase. January 2021 has seen the highest number of individual people test positive – 6,497. But the rate of increase has stalled, and many of the people testing positive in January did so at the start of the month – see the charts below.
Across Gloucestershire, 646 people tested positive in the week to the 5th Feb. Not all tests will have been processed yet as it’s only the 7th at time of writing, but there is a very clear downward trend – though the number of people confirmed positive is only down to the level when the second national lockdown was ended – and the chart shows very clearly how quickly case numbers can rise again from this level. You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard.
Looking at Stroud district specifically, 124 people tested positive in the most recent week – to 5th February (though as above, not all test results will have been processed so the number will likely end up higher for the week). It does look like numbers are falling – but not that last week’s total is basically the same as the week before (159 compared to 164). Is it plausible that 30-35 people whose tests are currently being processed will test positive and this chart will end up looking flat? It’ll probably be closer to that than we’d like. And in any case, the number of people who have tested positive is still higher in the most recent week than it was in the low between the second national lockdown and the third, and – as for Gloucestershire as a whole, we can see how rapidly the number of people testing positive in a week rose – from 96 in the week to 20th November to 310 in the week to 18th December.
This week, let’s take a more detailed look at where people in the district are from who test positive. The titles on the below charts are probably a bit small to see, so below a list that groups areas of the district by their trend type, and ranks them within though trends in terms of the rolling sum of people who tested positive in the past week:
The charts below show the trend in the rolling sum of people who tested positive in the past week for each area in the district, from the week of 6th September 2020 to the week ending 31st January (the most recent data available, things could have changed since then). You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to see this data as a map.
- Ebley and Randwick – 27
- Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington – 19
- Rodborough & Thrupp – 13
- Berkeley & Sharpness – 9
- Cam – 9
- Leonard Stanley & Uley – 8
- Stroud Town – 10
- Upton St Leonards & Hardwicke – 11
- Minchimhampton & Amberley – 0
- Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood – 8
Erratic/Hard to categorise
- Chalford & Bussage – 9
- Dursley – 8
- Nailsworth – 7
- Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe – 7
- Stonehouse – 16
Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 509 active cases for the district – up by 19 from last week. This underlines the point that infection numbers appear to be flat rather than falling. Please take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate.
People who have died with Covid-19
In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 22nd January – shows that 995 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate. 168 of these people were from the Stroud district. We send our condolences to all affected.
The best data we get on people who have died is from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates. This data takes time to come in – so the below is only up to the 22nd January. It is sobering reading:
- “The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 22 January 2021 (Week 3) was 18,676; this was 634 more deaths than in the previous week (Week 2) and is the third highest number of weekly deaths recorded during the pandemic.
- In Week 3, the number of deaths registered in England and Wales was 41.3% above the five-year average (5,460 deaths higher).
- Of the deaths registered in Week 3 in England and Wales, 8,422 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”; this is the second highest weekly number recorded during the pandemic and an increase of 1,177 deaths compared with Week 2.
- In Week 3, deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 45.1% of all deaths in England and Wales; this is the highest proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 that has been recorded during the pandemic.
- Of the 8,422 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 3 in England and Wales, 7,592 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (90.1%).“
- “from week 1 2020 through to week 3 2021… the number of deaths up to 22 January 2021 was 668,567. Of the deaths registered by 22 January 2021, 103,394 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 15.5% of all deaths in England and Wales.”
- The chart below shows how Covid-19 deaths contribute to the number of deaths being way above the 5-year average during times when the virus is allowed to infect large numbers of people.
Our previous update discusses the death rate in Stroud district compared to the rest of the country.
Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total, there have been 103,041 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire: 100,000 first doses (37,860 in the past week), and 2,923 (155 in the past week) second doses. These have covered:
- 94.9% of Gloucestershire residents aged 80+ with first dose, 3.7% second
- 87.2% aged 75-79, 0.1% second dose
- 26.4% aged 70-74, 0.1% second dose
- 12.4% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose, 0.3% have had a second dose
Rowcroft Medical Centre say:
“If you are aged over 70, including those of you who are housebound, or if you are Clinically Exceptionally Vulnerable (CEV) and you want a vaccine we will get to you by the end of next weekend… we will be giving you a full update on Monday as to our progress on vaccinating the four top priority groups. We are vaccinating this weekend and by Monday we will be able to see exactly how many patients, in our top four tiers, are still waiting to be invited for their vaccination.We have been informed that we will have more vaccine arriving next week and are therefore planning clinics on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th – in addition to those this weekend.”
Nailsworth GP Dr Anne Hampton, Severn Health Primary Care Network Clinical Director, one of the team organising Covid vaccinations at Beeches Green HC for Severn Health patients, says:
We are on track to vaccinate all group 1-4 patients by the end of this week (ie over 70s and Clinically Extremely Vulnerable). Thank you to all who have given feedback on the vaccination clinic and the process – we take all comments seriously. There have been some very helpful suggestions on this site Just a few points of clarification:
• We have no control over which vaccine we are delivered and the 2 vaccines are delivered in slightly different ways – for example the 15 minute wait is only with the Pfizer vaccine .
• Most people have no, or only mild reactions but a few have more serious side effects. These seem to happen with both vaccines equally and so far with no clear pattern.
• It is really important to report significant adverse reactions so we can understand more about these novel vaccines. You can do this yourself through https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
• We are vaccinating 850 people a day, the process is straight forward and runs very smoothly but with such a rapid throughput a slight computer glitch can quickly cause a short queue Helpful hints
• If you have concerns or worries about the vaccine it may be better to discuss these with your own doctor first, although the vaccinators on the day will double check
• We understand why people arrive in good time but if you are very early it is better to wait in your car until just before the time of your appointment
• Please make sure that you are wearing clothes that can roll up to reveal the very top of your arm
• Be prepared to wait outside for a short time
• Only bring what you need, no extra bags
Thank you for making this system work well and safely for all involved.(Progress applies to Severn Health Primary Care Network patients, but the advice is good for all.)
- SCCR Team member Rachel Sleigh continues to post regular updates about vaccination locally (see the Facebook group topic): HOW GP SURGERIES WILL BE CONTACTING PATIENTS FOR VACCINATION: “If your GP surgery has your mobile number they will text you this link Accurx.thirdparty.nhs.uk with your unique 10 character code. This enables you to book a local appointment online through an official nhs link approved by NHS digital. Accurx is the name of the software that is being used. We strongly encourage people to let surgeries have their mobile numbers and to keep them up to date. If you don’t make an online booking, or don’t have a mobile, the surgery will ring you. If you miss the call, they will ring you again, but it saves considerable time for them if patients can book themselves. You may also get a letter inviting you to book at one of the bigger vaccination hubs further afield. In most places these centralised invites arrive before the local ones, but where our GPs have vaccinated so many people so quickly these are often arriving later. Surgeries are not as far as we know using email, but scammers are. Vaccination is free, only a scam will ask for credit card details.”
- All health and social care workers should be offered the vaccine by mid-February 2021. Priority will be based on regular close contact with individuals who have either confirmed or suspected COVID-19, as well as staff who work with those at higher risk of being infected or becoming seriously ill if they do. Social care workers MUST have a ‘Letter of Eligibility’. See Rachel’s post on social care workers, and Gloucestershire County Council’s “Step-by-step process for social care employers” for more information.
- NHS Gloucestershire have launched a website where you can “Find the information you need about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Gloucestershire in one place.Visit the site for the latest updates, info on priority groups, FAQs and more”.
- Gloucestershire County Council have a hub for information on vaccines, including “a new online form for vaccination queries from the public and stakeholders“.
Please continue to ask us questions/raise concerns in our Facebook group and we will signpost to the best information we are aware of and/or pass on concerns as and when appropriate. We have separated out tagging of posts in the Facebook group into posts about local vaccination, and posts about the Covid-19 vaccines more generally.
Hospitals – local, regional, national
The good news is that the number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and down to nearly half that – 134 patients on the 2nd February (the most recent date data is available). This is great news but, as you can see from the chart below, there’s still a long way to go. The number of Covid-19 patients is only down to the level it was in November.
In terms of the proportion of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals (the blue bars only in the chart above), there is good news – the proportion of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is falling – down from a peak of 29% on , to 18% on the 2nd February. There’s still some way to go to get to even the recent low of 13% on 21st November, but the trend is really encouraging.
Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling – 2,332 people were admitted on the 3rd February – the lowest number this year. This number is nearly down to half the peak daily number for this ‘wave’, was 4,576 Covid-19 patients were admitted on the 12th January.
Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospital hasn’t yet fallen as much. At 29,326 it is still more than double the Spring 2020 peak of 21,686 on the 12th April. it’s a good sign that the number is falling, but there is a long, long way to go – and NHS workers in many parts of the country are still under enormous pressure.
The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also higher than in the Spring 2020 peak – but again, thankfully, it appears to have peaked (at 4,077 patients). There are still 3,505 patients in these beds, compared to 3,247 on the 18th April. We send our best for their recovery.
Across the UK the number of people testing positive each day is falling sharply – but is still very high. The peak date of positive submitted specimins was 4th January with 76,089 people submitting a sample that tested positive. On the 1st February – the most recent date likely to be fully processed, 22,309 people testing positive. This is still much higher than the since before mid-December, so please continue to take care.
Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 353,400 people had a symptomtic infection on the 6th February, based on symptom reporting by up to 4 million app users. This compares to 457,000 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January.
The Office for National Statistics have a higher estimate based on their random sample testing of tens of thousands of people – but is data from longer ago: “In England, the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) remains high in the week ending 23 January 2021; we estimate that 1,018,700 people (95% credible interval: 976,200 to 1,061,600) within the community population in England had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 55 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 55 to 1 in 50).”
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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.
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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. If there is a piece of guidance you have a question about, again – please ask in our Facebook group.
For more on the national situation I – as ever – highly recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing (1 hr 12 minutes). This week has a data presentation from Kit Yates – and questions and expert answers on what “a Zero Covid strategy” would look like, vaccines, and more .
Globally, over 2 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – but there is a sign that the number of people dying may be starting to fall, with Our World in Data reporting the highest number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as reaching a new high of 14,402 on January 26th, falling to 13,253 for February 5th.
In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries (currently the 4th worst affected of all countries), at 1,654 people per million – behind only Slovenia (1,737 per million), Belgium (1,842 per million) and San Marion (2,033 per million – though obviously a country with a much smaller population than the others).
Several countries have much lower death rates, including Denmark (383 per million), Estonia (343 per million), Turkey (316 per million), Finland (124 per million), Norway (107 per million), Bangladesh (50 per million), Australia (36 per million), South Korea (29 per million), Cuba (21 per million), New Zealand (5 people per million), Thailand, Bhutan and Eritrea (all around 1 person per million), and Mongolia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Taiwan and Burundi (all under 1 person per million).
The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (18) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (63) and United Arab Emirates (43). Globally, the rate is 1.6 doses per 100 people.
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.
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.
Your suggestions for inclusion of data in these summaries are welcome. Please submit posts to our Facebook group.