New government guidance has been out since 19th July. While many restrictions have been lifted, please see the NHS webpage on “How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus“. Please also read our SCCR statement on the current situation where cases are very high, which underlines that “we can still choose to act conscientiously and with compassion for others“. There are people in our community who have do not have the protection granted by vaccination (including those who cannot have jabs, or do not benefit as much from them because of a health condition/treatment, as well as those who for whatever reason have not taken up the offer of vaccination yet).
This week’s update is shorter, please read and share! (for more, see our Monthly update for August)
Gloucestershire – positive tests, hospital admissions, people in hospital
The first chart shows a comparison of the key data for Gloucestershire:
- The number of people testing positive each day is very high (averaging 295 each day in the 7 days to the 7th September) – and averaging over 275 for the past 7 days every day since the 10th August.
- The number of people being admitted to hospital has fallen again (44 admitted in the week to 5th September – we’ll get another update on 16th Sept), down from 62 in the week to 30th August, just lower than the 64 people admitted in the week to 19th July (purple double-line). Since the 2nd August, the 7 day total has not fallen below 30.
- There are a number of people who are still in hospital with Covid-19, but this has fallen from 26 on the 1st September to 17 on the 7th September. Three of these patients are in Mechanical Ventilation beds. We wish all patients well with their recovery (up from 1 the previous week).
- That admissions to hospital and numbers of people in hospital are relatively low (accounting for around 2% of general and acute beds at Gloucester and Cheltenham hospitals) – particularly in a context of high numbers of people testing positive – seems to be a testament to the power of vaccination.
- However, a further 5 people who lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate – in the week to 27th August which is the latest data for this measure. 19 people who lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate between June and 27th August.
People who have tested positive – districts, areas within districts, and age profile
Rates of people testing positive per 100,000 people across the county are still high at 265-324 per 100,000 people across the different districts (286 per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire – equivalent to around one in every 350 people testing positive in the last week). These are around the levels they were in early-July, and well above the levels in March – May). There aren’t big differences between districts (and these could reflect whether people get tested or not), but the rate in Stroud district (324 per 100,000 or one in every approx. 310 people) is a little higher than in the other districts.
The chart below includes the trend for England, which is broadly very similar to that for Gloucestershire. In each district and across the county, rates have been bouncing up and down and have fallen in the past few days, but it’s a bit early to be sure of a falling trend. However, there doesn’t seem to be a dramatic rise since schools returned (at least not yet). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire, or districts within it, on the government’s dashboard, and there is more information below.
Though there has been a very considerable increase, this is associated mainly with younger people. That does not mean it’s not a problem, but it does suggest that vaccination is working well in the groups most likely to be fully vaccinated (most people aged over 30 should have had time to get two jabs by now, but rates of full vaccination are much higher for people over 60, in part because of the longer time they’ve had to decide to take up the offer). The chart below shows the difference between people aged over and under 60. In the week to the 8th September, 1,615 of the 1,834 people living in Gloucestershire to test positive for the first time were aged under 60 (88%), compared to 219 people aged 60 or over (whereas in previous waves numbers have been roughly evenly split between age groups). Cases have been rising slowly among over 60s, approaching the level in November last year, but far fewer appear to be being hospitalised now than then.
Within Stroud district, the rate of people testing positive compared to the population is highest in is Berkeley & Sharpness, with a rate of 495 per 100,000 people (with 32 people testing positive in the week to the 8th September, up by 4 on the previous week). This is the highest rate in the county too – though in part because rates across the county have been falling. The rates in Stroud Town (where 55 people tested positive for the first time in the past seven days), Ebley & Randwick (53 people tested positive), Rodborough & Thrupp (33 people tested positive), and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (30 people tested positive) are also relatively high (above 400 per 100,000 people). See below for more detail on the parts of Stroud district.
The charts below show different areas of Stroud district with the number of people testing positive each week till the 4th September. These show numbers of people testing positive rather than rates adjusted to local population – are are rising particularly high/fast in Stroud Town, Ebley & Randwick, and Rodborough and Thrupp.
You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.
Charts and analysis of data from the NHS on Covid-19 vaccinations is now collated in a monthly vaccination update (last updated 5th September). The main headline figures are that:
Across Stroud district, 89% of those aged 16+ (ie, most of those eligible) have recieved at least one dose. Around 71% of the population are fully vaccinated, with a further 6% having received a first but not a second dose (77% of the population has received at least one dose).
Across the UK, the number of people to have tested positive in the past 7 days is 241,644. This is lower than the number that tested positive in the previous week – 22,241 fewer (a 8.4% descreast). This comes despite a large increase in testing (up by more than 1 million compared to the previous week), due to increased testing around schools.
The numbers of people dying within 28 days of a positive test has sadly risen quite dramatically, and is now close to 1,000 a week (987 in the past 7 days, up 198 / 25.1%). Further, the number of patients being admitted to hospital (6,917 in the past 7 days, up 314 / 4.7%) are also rising (we’d expect these to lag numbers of people testing positive as it takes time to get sick).
Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 700,377 people had a symptomtic infection on the 13th September, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users (down from 738,430 on the 5th September).
We can look at where we are compared to ‘models’ (predictions by experts that rely on attempts to use data on vaccination and prior infection levels, and changes in people’s behaviour, the seasons etc, to predict numbers of infections and hospital admissions. The two charts below are from Graham Medley, Professor of infectious disease modelling and chair of SPI-M (sub-group of SAGE).
The first shows hospital admissions (red dots) vs modelling produced on the 7th July, ahead of the ‘step 4’ reopening that took place on 19th July. As you can see, the red dots are roughly flat at around the 1,000 per day level, way below some of the scenarios. The chart below this one compares the numbers to the ‘middle’ of the estimates…
The next chart shows the same data but on a ‘logarithmic’ scale that essentially squashes the scale so it is easier to see rates of change at lower numbers. It also adds the central estimates (black o’s) and lines to show the range of possible scenarios (ie, the x points at the maximum end of the lines were expected to be less likely). Here you can see the red dots are close to 4 of the black o’s, and lower than the middle estimates but within the black line range for 2 further estimates. There are 8 remaining estimates – 5 in the past where the reality has been considerably lower than the model and 2 remaining – one with a central point significantly above where the red dots look to be headed at the moment… while the second is at around the same level, but with more time for the reality to catch up. In both cases, if daily hospital admissions remain the same, the reality will be within the expected range of outcomes.
The numbers of people dying with their deaths attributed to Covid-19 continue to rise, particularly in Asia. Over 4.6 million people have had their death attributed to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. This is believed to be a significant underestimate: The Economist estimates that excess mortality at 15.2 million (which will include deaths from causes other than Covid-19 as well as deaths caused by Covid-19 but not recorded as such).
The core advice remains: 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, or call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week to self-refer or visit NHS Volunteer Responders. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.
Book a test via this link. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms – it’s really important you isolate and get tested if you have symptoms (fever, new cough, loss of smell/taste). 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.
Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the public health advice 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.
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.