Step 4 of the government’s reopening roadmap – to include the end of legal limits of contacts – was due “no earlier than 21st June”, and is now due to take place on the 19th July. Current government guidance, which is in place until the next step takes place, is available on the gov.uk website – click for full details. Some restrictions are being eased, relating to weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events; care home visits; overnight school trips; and large event pilots. And there will be a further review on 28th June to see if restrictions could be ended on 5th July. We know that people will have different perspectives on this, please see our statement here, and feel free to discuss in our Facebook group.
- No-one from Stroud district has died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate for over 6 weeks (no death certificate mentions since 16th April – to 4th June, the most recent data). No-one from Stroud district has died within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) for three months – since 20th March, nor in Gloucestershire for two months – since 17th April (data to 19th June).
- The number of people testing positive by PCR or Lateral Flow Device in Gloucestershire has risen substantially and quickly – to 572 in the past week – to 16th June (compared to 312 in the week before, and 179 in the week before that). Rates are highest in Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham, and among people aged 20-24, but they are rising in Stroud district too. Across Gloucestershire the number of people to test positive in the most recent week is around 100 per 100,000 people or one in every 1,000 people. For the Stroud and Cotswold districts, and the Forest of Dean, the current rate is around half this – 50 per 100,000 or one in every 2,000 people. However, these areas are following the same trend, just about two weeks later – and there’s little reason to believe they won’t keep rising. Across the UK, the number of people to have tested positive in the past 7 days is 65,558 – up 15,541 (31%) on the previous week’s 50,017 (when there was a larger increase of 16,521/49% on the previous week.)
- There are 4 people in Gloucestershire hospitals with Covid-19 (as of 15th June, the most recent data). There is one patient in a mechanical ventilation bed (same as last week).We wish these people well with their recovery. 17 patients were admitted/diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the week to the 13th June – this is low and it appears most people are being discharged quickly, but in the week to 2nd June just 2 patients were admitted.
- The number of people in hospital with the virus nationally has been rising, at an increasing rate – albeit at relatively low numbers (1,316 on the 17th June, 1,093 on the 10th June compared to 932 on the 3rd June). We know hospitalisations lag infections, so we may see similar rises associated with the higher numbers of people testing positive across the county recently… or we may not if these are cases among people less likely to be at risk.
- Locally, over half of the population have now received a second dose of a Covid vaccine (58% for Stroud district and 53% for Gloucestershire – compared to 46% across England). In terms of those eligible for vaccination, two-thirds have now had a second dose in Stroud district (67%).
- Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:
People who have tested positive
Across the county, rates are highest – and have risen sharply – in Cheltenham (120 per 100,000 or 1 in every 833 people), Gloucester and Tewkesbury (both around 100 per 100,000). They have risen at a similar rate but are currently lower in the Forest of Dean, Stroud District and Cotswold District (all at around 50 per 100,000 or 1 in every 2,000 people). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. The rate per 100,000 people for Gloucestershire is 80 (i.e., one in every 1,250-odd people has tested positive in the past week) – now very similar to the UK rate of 85 per 100,000. The sharp rise is a reminder how quickly the virus – particularly the new variant – can spread, so please do keep being cautious: meet outdoors if you can, keep fresh air flowing if meeting indoors, maintain distance and wear masks wear appropriate, wash your hands regularly, and get tested with a PCR test if you have symptoms, and with rapid Lateral Flow Tests if you do not have symptoms. Last week we wrote that “we can be hopefully that the data for the 7th and 8th June shows signs that increases might be slowing down in some areas (though it’s too early to draw strong conclusions)”. It was too early – the brief downward turn has been shown to be a blip by later rises.
On a weekly basis, 572 people tested positive across Gloucestershire in the week to the 16th June. This is the highest number for a week since the week to the 3rd February when 755 people tested positive.
Though there has been a very considerable increase, this appears to be associated mainly with younger people (the chart below shows the difference between people aged over and under 60, but other data shows positive tests are concentrated particularly among those aged 20-24), who we know are much less likely to be vaccinated (unless clinically vulnerable, acting as an unpaid carer for someone who is, or working in health or social care). We would expect (and the data below appears to bear out so far – though there is a lag), that these people will be less likely to need to be admitted to hospital.
The highest rate in Gloucestershire is in St Paul’s, Cheltenham – where 18 people have tested positive in the past week (14 more than the previous week), giving a rate of 217.8 per 100,000 (or more than 1 in every 500 people). The government’s still shows some areas in Stroud district (as well as many in the surrounding areas across the county and beyond) – with at most 2 positive tests in the week to (Berkeley & Sharpness; Dursley; Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington (down from 7 last week); and Leonard Stanley & Uley). Data for these parts of the district 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 Stroud district, the area with the highest rate is Upton St Leonards and Hardwicke, with 10 people testing positive in the past week (giving a rate of 100 per 100,000).
You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.
If we look at the number of PCR tests being done in Gloucestershire, we can see the rise in the number of people testing positive isn’t just about more testing being done. There has been a notable rise in the proportion of tests that return positive results (2.6% of the 18,781 people tested by PCR in the 7 days to 15th June tested positive, compared to a low of 0.2% between 24th April – 13th, and 16-21st May).
In Stroud District specifically, 72 people tested positive in the most recent week – to 16th June. This is more than double the week before (31), which was more than double the week before that (13). It is the highest number since the week to the 17th February when 88 people tested positive – though the age breakdown is now very different (see below).
The data by age from Stroud is strongly suggestive of a vaccination effect: very few people aged 55 or over have tested positive since 29th March – while there have continued to be cases among younger age groups. Rates have been highest for people aged 10-34, and are currently higher for people aged 20-24 particularly.
We do 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). This week they estimate 59 people with active symptomatic infections in the district – down 21 from last week by their measure, suggesting a flattening off and fall after a notable rise. Hopefully this is leading indicator of where the number of people testing positive may head – or a sign that a higher proportion of those testing positive now have minor/no symptoms.
There were 4 people in Gloucestershire Hospitals with COVID-19 as of the 15th June, down from 7 the week before (and compared to around 800 patients in Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals in total). 1 patient is in a Mechanical Ventilation bed, the same number as last week (it could be the same or a different person)
The chart below shows how the number of people being admitted /diagnosed over the previous 7 days period has risen a little – but in the context of the above it appears most people are being discharged quickly (17 in the week to 13th June, compared to a recent peak of 24 in the week to 12th May – still nowhere near the peak of 202 in the week to 18th January). The increase in admissions is likely to relate to infections acquired at least a week previously, so it is possible we will see a rise related to the dramatic increase in infections across Gloucestershire in the last few weeks – but because the age profile of people testing positive recently is younger, and younger people are, on average, much less likely to be at risk of developing severe illness, we may not see an increase in the number of people admitted to/in hospital.
Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 23rd May (the most recent available data) there had been 752,038 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (34,419 doses delivered in the week). People are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should. Around 23,000 more people have received a second dose by 13th June (325,573) than had received a first dose 12 weeks ago (302,836). This should increase as second doses are now due to be brought forward for people in the first priority groups (lookout for a text if you are past or approaching 8 weeks since your first dose and haven’t had a second dose yet), but you can see what a challenge this is – there’s a gap of around 20,000 people to fill until people who recieved a first dose 8 weeks ago will have a second. The chart below also shows how the rate at which first doses are being delivered picked up quickly in May and June after a flat April, though the need to focus on second doses means the first dose rollout is a little slower than in February and March.
The charts below show progress towards completion of the vaccination rollout locally, comparing this with the regional and England-wide progress. This data is for the 13th June, and while more doses will have been delivered since then, is closer to the proportions of people who will have built up some/maximum immunity by this point.
In Stroud district, two-thirds of adults have now had two doses (67%). This equates to a smaller proportion of the total population (58%) but is still much higher than for England as a whole (46%). In terms of first doses, more than 4 in every 5 adults (83%), and more then 2 in every 3 people in Stroud district (71%) has now had a first dose. As for second doses, these rates are substaintially higher than for England as a whole.
The chart below shows how the total population of Stroud district breaks down by age band (in the 2019 Office for National Statistics estimate). The rows below show the number of people in each age band who have been partially or fully vaccinated. The colours match down the rows, with blank/white gaps where people are yet to be invited or had not (yet) taken up an invitation as of 13th June. As you can see, essentially everyone aged 50+ is fully vaccinated (there are around 1,000 people aged 50-59 who had received a first, but not a second dose by 13th June). There are around 5,000 people aged 40-49 who have had their first but not second dose. People aged under 16 are not eligible for vaccination (at least, at the moment – the MHRA has approved Pfizer vaccination for 12-15 year olds, but the JCVI and government are yet to say whether people in these age groups will be vaccinated as part of the rollout).
The chart below shows progress for first and second doses, and the varying population sizes, for different parts of the Stroud district. The total population of each area differs, but the proportions fully vaccinated or with one dose are roughly similar. The number and proportion of people who haven’t yet received a dose or aren’t eligible differs a little because of the proportion that are under 18.
A second chart shows how the age profiles of the different areas affect the above. Essentially, in all parts of Stroud district the proportion of people aged 50 or over fully vaccinated is over 96% of the ONS population estimate for the area. In Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington (and a few other places to a lesser extent), the ONS estimate was obviously an underestimate as more people have received two doses than were estimated to live in the area. For people aged 30-49, proportions vary – in Frampton, Whitminter and Eastington nearly everyone in this age bracket has had at least a first dose. For those under 30 (which includes people aged under 16 of whom none are eligible), bery few have yet had a vaccination dose.
People aged 18 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link (and we expect this age to drop to 20 over the weeks to come), as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Cainscross Pharmacy/Britannia Dance Studio, Cirencester, 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.
- NHS Gloucestershire have 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“.
We’ve published five videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins (click to watch on Youtube). Please watch/share on Facebook via the link. And 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“.
If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).
There will no doubt be a presentation on national data by the government and chief scientific advisors, so the below is only brief. You can see a summary of the trends on the government dashboard at this link.
Across the UK, the number of people to have tested positive in the past 7 days is 65,558 – up 15,541 (31%) on the previous week. The number of people testing positive in the week is higher, but the rate of increase is slowing – the previous week 16,521/49% more people tested positive than in the previous week
Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 219,537 people had a symptomtic infection on the 20th June, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This is a sizeable increase on 161,655 last week (13th June), but not the doubling we saw the week before that, and still a quarter of the peak in January (801,461). Again, this implies the rate of increase is slowing.
The total number of people with the virus in UK hospitals has risen considerably: 1,316 on the 17th June, 1,093 on the 10th June compared to 932 on the 3rd June. The increase has been sustained since 28th May (notably not long after 17th May step 3) when the number reached a low of 882 (though the total is still far, far below the peak of 39,249 on 18th January). By looking at recent data we can see the trend, but note the following chart where this is still nowhere near the levels during the peaks.
The number of patients being admitted is also rising – 1,413 in the last 7 days, compared to 1,008 in the previous week and 869 in the week to 1st June.
The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds is also rising: 210 on the 17th June, compared to 134 on 3rd June, but still much lower than the peak of 4,077 people on 24th January 2021. The lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August. We send our best for the recovery of all Covid-19 patients in hospital.
The numbers of people dying are still low – 108 people had Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the week to 4th June, the second lowest weekly figure since the week ending 4th September 2020. However, we know it takes time for people to get sick, and certainly sick enough to die, and so these numbers do not reflect the recent rises in infections (though a rise in deaths on track with these is not certain – as most of those most at risk have now been vaccinated).
A chart from Colin Angus/Victim of Maths illustrates that the ratio of hospital deaths to admissions with COVID is low, having fallen considerably since January (due, we can imagine, largely due to the protective effect of vaccines – and also to a lessening of pressure in hospitals).
There is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day has been falling sharply since the high on April 25th of 826,374 (driven by falling numbers in India). However, the number of people testing positive is still very high at 361,000 daily (7-day-rolling average to June 19th) – and rising in South America and Africa.
Globally, over 3.85 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 Economist has published analysis estimating the true figure is around 10 million).
In terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths relative to the population, the United Kingdom has a fairly high rate (1,889), but lower than the worst hit countries – such as Peru (5,760 per million, or around one in every 175 people), Hungary (3,100), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2,935), and Czechia (2,827). The UK rate is lower than for the continent of South America (2,248 Covid-19 deaths per million), but slightly higher than that for the European Union as a whole (1,653), and for North America (1,512) as a whole – but broadly in line with those continents (and this may reflect differences in testing/attribution). However, there are some countries with lower deaths rates – including Germany (1,079 – not much over half the UK rate), or much lower rates – Finland and Norway have rates 10 times lower than the UK (175 and 146 per million), and South Korea, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Vietnam have rates that barely register compared to the worst hit areas (though some of these countries have current outbreaks that may increase mortality, hopefully outbreaks can be controlled / vaccination can rollout before they reach the levels seen in other parts of the world).
In terms of vaccination, the UK has a very high proportion who have received at least one dose (63% of population) – behind only Israel (63%) and Canada (66%) among larger countries (in the chart below). The UK’s rate for full vaccination (46%) is also very high in terms of global comparisons – nearly double the European Union rate (27%), four times as high as South America (11%), and more than ten times higher the proportion across Asia (7.6%), and Africa (0.96%).
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 mark getting their own vaccination.
The core advice remains: please book a test. 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. Twice weekly rapid tests are 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 meet outside when possible, keep indoor spaces well ventilated with fresh air, 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.
A summary of key changes and similarities with the government guidance starting June 21st is copied below:
“The government has announced a 4-week pause at Step 3. Step 3 restrictions remain in place, and you should follow the guidance on this page, which explains what you can and cannot do.
It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. The government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance.
How the rules changed on 21 June
The rules on weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations changed on 21 June. See the weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations section of this guidance.
The rules on commemorative events following a death such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering changed on 21 June. See the funerals and linked commemorative events of this guidance.
The rules on care home visits changed on 21 June. See the care home visits section of this guidance.
The rules on domestic residential visits for children changed on 21 June. See the childcare section of this guidance.
Large events pilots from 21 June
A limited series of pilot events will take place to produce additional evidence on reopening events safely. Attendees will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.
This will include some UEFA EURO 2020 matches at Wembley and a small number of other sports, arts and music performances. The full list of pilots, and further details about the events, will be announced shortly.”
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. We 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. We’re also volunteers with no public health expertise – collating and signposting to other sources for guidance.
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.