25th Sept 2021 data update

Team members James Beecher and Claire Biggs summarise local data on the pandemic and put it in national and international context

Our weekly updates are now shorter (for more detail, see our Monthly update for August, or page on vaccination which covers detailed data for the district on a monthly basis).

Around the country, numbers of people testing positive and being admitted to hospital have dropped (see national section below), but the picture is complex. In Gloucestershire, the decline in people testing positive was dramatic but has turned around with a rise in recent days. However, the county still has amost the lowest rates of people testing positive per 100,000 population in England (166 compared to 139 last week – equivalent to one in every approximately 600 people testing positive for the first time in the past week). This is the 11th lowest rate for equivalent local authorities in the UK! Among smaller local authorities, the rate in Stroud district was briefly the lowest for all Lower Tier Local Authories in the UK, but has since increased a little (now the 15th lowest among equivalent ‘tier’ local authorties – district councils and the like).

Gloucestershire – positive tests, hospital admissions, people in hospital

The first chart shows a comparison of the key data for Gloucestershire:

  • The average number of people testing positive for the first time each day has risen again after a dramatic fall (blue line on chart)- to around 180 rather than around 100 (though also still well below the numbers around 350 of the previous few weeks). In the seven days to 23rd September, 1,291 people in total tested positive for the first time, considerably higher than the 702 people in the seven days to the 16th September, but still substantially lower than the 1,742 people in the 7 days to 9th September.
  • The number of people being admitted to hospital with or diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 (purple double line on chart) continues to fluctuate at just under 50 per week (48 admitted in the week to 17th September – compared to 46 in the week to the 12th). In this ‘wave’, the peak was 64 people admitted in the week to 19th July (purple double-line), but since the 2nd August, the 7 day total has not fallen below 30.
  • There are a 28 people who are still in Gloucester/Cheltenham hospitals with Covid-19, as of 21st September (red columns on chart). Four of these patients are in Mechanical Ventilation beds (up from two last week). We wish all patients well with their recovery.
  • Eight people who lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the week to 10th September which is the latest data for this measure (black bars on chart). 29 people who lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate between 1st June and 10th September – of the total 1,214 during the whole pandemic. Our condolences to all loved ones affected.
Chart by James Beecher and Claire Biggs, based on data from the Public Health England dashboard

People who have tested positive – districts, areas within districts, and age profile

Rates of people testing positive per 100,000 people across the county have risen again after falling dramatically (note, these are not rates of infection, as not everyone will be tested – but they give us some indivication of the situation). They are now between 156 to 173 per 100,000 across different districts (compared to 94 to 181 per 100,000 people last week). Across Gloucestershire the rate has increased from 140 to 166, but this is still less than half the 365 per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire on the 6th September. This is now equivalent to around one in every 600 people testing positive for the first time in the last week, rather than one in every 246 people.

The rates are very similar to those at the start of July (before a rise associated with the mens Euro2020 football tournament). Stroud district has a rate of 156 per 100,000 or one in every approx. 640 people, but variation across districts within Gloucestershire is so small it probably reflects takeup of tests rather than differences in prevalence of infections.

The chart below also includes the trend for England, which also showed a decline but not as deep, and as in Gloucestershire has returned to a rise. The England rate is now 289 per 100,000 – roughly double the rate across Gloucestershire (one in every 350 people). These rapid declines may not be sustained, but at minimum are very welcome (particularly given schools have reopened which we might have expected to increase transmission. This may yet happen with time, but there is no sign of it across the population as a whole (though see age breakdown below). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire, or districts within it, on the government’s dashboard, and there is more information below.

(these rates may need to be treated with a little caution as are still hearing anecdotal reports of some likely infections where people received inconclusive or possible false negative PCR tests. However, people are clearly still testing positive so it seems unlikely that there is a major problem at a lab).

The chart below shows the difference in rates for people aged over and under 60. In the week to the 20th September, 927 of the 1,063 people living in Gloucestershire to test positive for the first time were aged under 60 (87%, a rate of 201 per 100,000 people aged under 60), compared to 136 people aged 60 or over (a rate of 76 per 100,000 people aged 60 or over). Cases had been rising slowly among over 60s, but the recent drop was in both age groups – though the rise seems more among younger people (as we’d expect, given the return to school affecting both children and their parents).

Source: data dashboard – Gloucestershire

This week’s data from the new UK Health Security Agency (formed in part from what has been Public Health England), shows “case rates are highest in those aged 10 to 19 years old and lowest in over 80s.” (you can see case rates falling dramatically in 20-29 year olds, but rising dramatically and 5-9 and 10-19 year olds (both trends starting before but continuing since schools have reopened).

Source: Public Health England

Within Stroud district, the rate of people testing positive compared to the population is highest in is Chalford & Bussage at 272 per 100,000 people. This comes with 17 people testing positive in the week to 20th September, 7 more than the total to test positive in the previous week (10).

Around the county we are now seeing many areas with low rates (the yellow-green on the map: Leonard Stanley & Uley, Stonehouse and St Paul’s in Cheltenham). The highest county rate is in Springbank in Cheltenham at 343 per 100,000 from 22 people testing psotiive in the week for the first time.

Stroud Town has seen 12 people test positive for the first time in the seven days to 20th September, giving a rate of 103 per 100,000 people (in other words, roughly 1 in every 1,000 people). See below for more detail on the parts of Stroud district.

Source: govt interactive map

The charts below show different areas of Stroud district with the number of people testing positive each week till the 18th September. These show numbers of people testing positive rather than rates adjusted to local population – with increases only in Chalford & Bussage, Minchinhampton & Amberley, and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington.

Data collated by Claire Biggs, charts by James Beecher. Data from Public Health England – MSOA

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, 89.4% of those aged 16+ (ie, most of those eligible) have recieved at least one dose. Around 73% of the population are fully vaccinated, with a further 5% having received a first but not a second dose (78% of the population has received at least one dose).

National context

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 for the first time in the past 7 days is 235,417. This is 14% higher than the number that tested positive in the previous week (206,929). The number of tests completed has fallen by around 4.1% (so the rise in number of people testing positive is not just because more people are being tested).

The numbers of people dying within 28 days of a positive test (not the best measure, but the most up-to-date one) has fallen a little – and is thankfully below 1,000 a week again. It is still a lot of people at 942 in the past seven days.

However, the number of patients being admitted to hospital (5,602 in the past 7 days) has fallen quite steeply in the past week – by 16% – over 1,000 fewer people were admitted this week compared to last (1,080 fewer). It obviously takes time for people to get sick and certainly sick enough to die, and hopefully this recent drop will be sustained and we will see fewer people dying with or because of Covid-19 in the coming weeks and months (data is available that splits out only those to die “due to” Covid, with represents about 85-90% of all cases where Covid-19 is mentioned on a death certificate).

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 664,000 people had a symptomatic infection on the 25th September, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users (down from around 679,000 on the 18th September). The ONS estimate that, for the week to the 24th September, “620,100 people within the community population in England had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 577,100 to 663,900), equating to around 1 in 90 people.” This represents a slight fall in England – roughly consistent with the pattern in terms of numbers of people testing positive.

International context

The numbers of people dying with their deaths attributed to Covid-19 continue to rise, particularly in Asia. Over 4.7 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 15.7 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 chart below compares deaths over the past week with the previous week to show deaths rising particularly fast in Suriname, Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Guyana, followed by the USA, Mexico, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Iran. Bear in mind that data for countries in Africa is much less likely to be complete – so may not fully reflect reality.


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).

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.