Before this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, a reminder of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap for ending restrictions, taken from gov.uk began on Monday 12 April:
- “non-essential retail will be able to reopen
- personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
- public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
- outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
- most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
- some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
- indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
- all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
- weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
- self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
- you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
- care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)”
“You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England. You can also read the law that underpins these changes and the ongoing restrictions.” (further re-opening is scheduled for “no earlier than 17 May.”)
- For the first week since that ending on the 23rd October, there were no death certificates where Covid-19 was mentioned as a cause of death in Gloucestershire in the most recent week of data (to 2nd April). Hopefully, with low rates of infection, high rates of vaccination, and vaccines which appear to be highly effective against serious illness/death, we will see very few additional local deaths – if any. The total for the county is 1,179 people, 197 of whom were from the Stroud district.
- Alongside the encouraging local news, across the UK the country has sadly passed another grim milestone: 150,419 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of 2nd April. This includes 450 people added to the total in the most recent week. The number of people dying each week with Covid or because of it is falling (799 in the previous week).
- In addition, locally there are 2 patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds in Gloucestershire hospitals with Covid-19 as of the 13th April (the most recent date data is available). From 18th March – 8th April there were no Covid-19 patients in these beds – which are for the sickest Covid patients. Including these two patients, there are 3 Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals – up from 1 last week. People in hospital now are likely to have been infected a week or more ago, but while rates are low (see below), that there are still patients receiving ventilation is a reminder that the virus has not gone away completely.
- 9 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 14th April (up from 5 in the previous week). It’s to early to say there is a rising trend – it’s possible the 9 people are contacts, if not household members, of the 5 from last week. Alternatively, these could be people without symptoms picked up through the new offer of Lateral Flow Device testing (the positivity rate for PCR testing is very low at 0.2%). The ZOE/Kings College London app estimates that there are a total of 33 people with active sympomatic infections across the district (they describe this as being down 14 from the previous week). Together, that hopefully means the uptick in confirmed cases is more to do with identifying more of the people who have the virus rather than with more people being infected.
- Across Gloucestershire, 59 people tested positive in the week to the 14th April (up from 50 in the previous week). The rate per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire is 10.5 – making it the 28th lowest rate for equivalent local authorities in the UK. Again, the nuance above applies – positive test numbers are very low and together with newly expanded testing it’s difficult to know whether there is a rising trend.
- Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that – as of 11th April, the latest publicly available data – 70% of the Stroud district population aged 16+ has had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (or 57% of the total population).
- Across Gloucestershire, more people have received a second dose by 11th April (85,647) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (77,817) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should. 65% of those aged 16+ have had a first dose (54% of the total population) and 16% have had a second dose (13% of the total population).
- Globally, the situation is still very bad. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the number of people testing positive across the world on April 17th – 766,230 – is the highest daily number yet (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries).The number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising again – to 11,890 on April 10th, up from 10,243 on March 31st (though there is a small sign this may be dipping down again).
- Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:
People who have tested positive
Across Gloucestershire, 59 people tested positive in the week to the 14th April (up from 50 in the previous week). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. Across Gloucestershire, a total of 22,351 people have now tested positive across the whole pandemic (3.5% of the population or 1 in every 29 people), though the true number and proportion of people to have had the virus will be higher as not everyone has been tested.
9 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 14th April (up from 5 in the previous week). However, the positivity rate – the proportion of PCR tests that return positive results – has fallen. Just 0.2% of the 2,908 tests completed in the last 7-day period for which data is available tested positive (compared with 0.2% of the 2,243 tests completed in the week to 16th September). There have been several days recently where no specimens submitted resulted in positive tests: 14th, 11th, 9th, 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd April (we can assume all results should have been returned by now for those dates). The rate per 100,000 people in Stroud district is for the past 7 days 9.2. A total of 3,733 people from Stroud district have tested positive during the whole pandemic (3.1%, or 1 in every 32 people). Again the true number and proportion of people to have had the virus will be higher as not everyone has been tested.
A portion of positive tests will come from Lateral Flow Device testing associated with schools or people without symptoms – we are hopefully catching more people without symptoms who are positive and this should help break transmission chains. In order to be sure that this higher number of tests aren’t altering our understanding of what’s happening, one thing we can do is look at the proportion of PCR tests (for people with symptoms) are positive: this is falling. People who test positive with an LFD get a confirmatory PCR test. The most recent data for Gloucestershire has 0.4% of people who undertook a PCR test testing positive – up from 0.3% a week ago, but down from 0.6% a week before that, and 11.9% at the peak. The tiny uptick isn’t concerning yet – proportions are still very low and could represent a ‘floor’ – the lowest the rate will go given there will always be some false positives, or we may see even lower prevalence of the virus and fewer positive tests now that large portions of the population have been vaccinated (and given a slower reopening from lockdown that reduces the risks of transmission).
Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows all of the Stroud district – and the vast majority of the surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 13th April (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in many of these places). As we know 9 people have tested positive across Stroud district, we can assume these are distribted across the different areas of the district, rather than there being an outbreak in one area. The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Pittville & Fairview in Cheltenham where 5 people testing positive gives a rate of 52.9 per 100,000 over the past 7 days – this could represent just one or two households.
You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.
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 60 active cases for the district – down 20 from last week by their measure. Please continue to take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate – we still want to get the infections lower than they are now.
Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 27,499 people had a symptomtic infection on the 18th April, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 39,040 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The KCL/ZOE team estimated a similar number of people with symptomatic infections on the 7th September 2020 – 27,226.
This week we published two videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins – a GP at Price’s Mill surgery in Nailsworth who is also a Clinical Director for the Severn Health Primary Care Network (PCN) which covers a set of local surgeries linked to the Beeches Green vaccination hub. The first video covers current work, with a focus on people who are waiting to receive their second doses, and the second video focuses on the process for people yet to receive a first dose. While the information applies to people at the surgeries in the Severn Health PCN, it is of interest and broad relevance to everyone in the district.
Please watch/share on Facebook via the link above.
Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 11th April (the most recent available data) there have been 426,739 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (19,682 doses delivered in the past week of data, compared to 21,165 doses delivered in the previous week). Of these, 241,092 are first doses (up 2,926 in the most recent week) and 68,891 second doses (up 16,756). The chart below shows how the rate at which second doses are being delivered is increasing while the number receiving first doses has flattened off. There are 11 weeks between the first bars on the left and the last bars on the right. More people have received a second dose by 4th April (68,891) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (62,140) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should. The chart also shows how the delivery of 2nd doses increasing and the supply issues with AstraZeneca have slowed the delivery of 1st doses for now.
The chart below shows vaccination coverage for the Stroud district, Gloucestershire, South West and England – as proportions of the “rollout population” (those eligible to be offered vaccinations – ie, those aged over 16), and of the total population (from the Office for National Statistics 2019 estimate).
- The chart shows
- 70% of the population aged 16 or over across Stroud district (57% of the total population).
- For Gloucestershire 65% of the rollout population have had a first dose (54% total population) and 16% a second dose (13% total pop)
- For the South West: 64% (53%) a first dose, and 15% a second dose (12%)
- For England: 59% a first dose (48%) and 14% a second dose (11%)
- In addition – not shown on the chart, every part of the Stroud district (“MSOA” level) has seen enough first doses given to cover 61% or more of the population aged 16+ (ie, those included in the current vaccination programme) – a minimum of 50% of the population (Dursley has the lowest rate). Rates are highest as a percentage of estimated residents in Painswick, Bisley and Eastcombe (78%), Minchinhampton & Amberley (77%), and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (77%). These rates are higher because a higher proportion of the population is in eligible categories (ie, aged 50 or over, working in health or social care, or clinically vulnerable) – not just because of takeup.
People aged 45 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.
Check out our previous videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.
Prices Mill surgery update on 12th April says “Because of the focus on second doses currently, the number of adult first doses is only creeping up very slowly – 67% as of today. 17% of our adult population have, however, now received two doses! Still 201 patients have yet to decline or arrange a vaccination in Cohort 1-9, please get in touch if this is you.”
The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district.
We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge – nearly 27 million people being vaccinated in 4 months is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them. We will be interviewing someone next week – comment with a question on this post and we’ll do our best to ask it.
There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).
- 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“.
Hospitals – local, national
There were no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally between 18th March and 8th April, ie, for over three weeks. Now there are two, and including these patients, there are 3 Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals – up from 1 last week. People in hospital now are likely to have been infected a week or more ago, but while rates are low (see below), that there are still patients receiving ventilation is a reminder that the virus has not gone away completely.
Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 179 people were admitted on the 13th April, compared to 222 seven days previously – and 4,577 at the peak on 12th January).
Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospitals remains 2,186 on the 15th April, down from 2,872 on the 8th April (and down to less than a twelth of the peak of 39,249 on 18th January). The lowest last summer was 803 on the 2nd September, so there is still some way to go.
The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also now lower than in the Spring 2020 peak – having peaked at 4,077 patients (on 24th January). There are still 332 patients in these beds as of the 16th April (the lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August). We send our best for their recovery.
People who have died with Covid-19
In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 26th March – shows that 1,179 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (no-one was added to the total in the most recent week of data, for the first time since October). 197 of these people were from the Stroud district (one more person since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.
The data is from registrations of death up to the 2nd April. With a few people on Mechanical Ventilation beds it is possible there will be a few further deaths, but barring dramatic mutations of the virus, and failures of policy, we should never see the weekly numbers we have seen recently again.
While that is encouraging news locally, nationally we hit a grim milestone this week, as data from the UK’s statistics agencies showed that over 150,000 people living in the UK have died with their “death certificate mentioning COVID-19 as one of the causes.*
The data are published weekly by the ONS, NRS and NISRA and there is a lag in reporting of at least 11 days because the data are based on death registrations” (data is to the 2nd April). The first chart below shows how these deaths have been registered week-by-week across the UK – see the government’s data website for more information. The second chart below is from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates, covering England and Wales only, but shows how the number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned as one of the causes relate to other deaths since January 2020, and push the number of people dying in some weeks well over the 5 year average. The ONS say:
“Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 2 April 2021 was 679,851 in England and Wales. Of the deaths registered by 2 April 2021, 138,057 (20.3%) mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. During this period, the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 116,814 deaths.”
In the vast majority of cases where COVID-19 is listed on a death certificate, it is listed as the “underlying cause of death” (for example, in the most recent week, the ONS report “Of the 400 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 13 in England and Wales, 308 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (77.0%).” There are people who die “with” COVID but because of something else – but this does not explain the high numbers of deaths, and certainly not how much higher the number of people dying is than an average year
We have previously included data comparing the death rate in Stroud district with other areas, incuding those that have seen more than twice as many people die compared to their local population.
The Independent SAGE weekly briefing this week does not include a data presentation, and instead focuses on the global vaccination rollout. There are still the usual questions and answers from the media and public, and it is very much worth watching.
Globally, over 3 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, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising again – to 11,890 on April 10th, up from 10,243 on March 31st (though there is a small sign this may be dipping down again). This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the number of people testing positive on April 17th – 766,230 – is the highest daily number yet (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries).
While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, in other parts of the world – and indeed across the world as a whole – numbers are rising. Countries across Europe – including most notably Cyprus, Turkey, Sweden, France, Croatia and Hungary – have high rates or rates of increase. Meanwhile, cases are increasing very fast in India – and while the population of that country is so large the rate per million people is not as high as in Europe, the numbers of people are very high: over 200,000 tested positive on April 17th.
The United Kingdom is doing very well in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (62) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (119 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (97), and Chile (68). Globally, the rate is 11 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.
The chart above covers both first and second doses – but different countries have different strategies (the UK has maximised first doses, while other countries have pursued both first and second doses equally, which slows the first dose rate. Other countries have used single dose vaccines – as the UK may do eventually). In terms of full vaccination, Israel has the highest proportion fully vaccinated (57%), Chile (28%), Bahrain (27%), USA (25%) and Serbia (18%) all have higher rates than the UK (14%) – though the UK’s rate is still very high in terms of global comparisons.
The effectiveness of vaccines is shown, for example by this chart from John Burn-Murdoch – revealing how the share of cases in the UK made up by different age groups has fallen as that age group has been able to access vaccination.
The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. from 9th April, twice weekly rapid tests will be available to everyone in England without symptoms. If you have symptoms, there is a permanent unit at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park. See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire. If you have symptoms (or if you are asked to by contact tracers), self-isolate until you have a negative test – or for 10 days since your symptoms appeared if you test positive or are asked to by Test and Trace. 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.
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.
The County Council have updated their information about how you can book a test locally. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not, and where you can pick up testing kits for households with school-aged children.
- For people with symptoms, there are permanent testing units at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park.
- Without symptoms, there is a site in Gloucester City and one located at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. A third site will be opening in the Forest of Dean on the 10th March.
- You can pick up a testing kit from the permanent testing units at: Hempsted Meadows, Gloucester; High St Car Park, Cheltenham; and Stratford Park, Stroud.
See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.