30th 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). We’ll do a monthly update for September next week, once all the data for the month is in.

This week the local picture shows the number of people testing positive, being admitted to hospital and occupying hospital beds with Covid-19 all rising – although numbers in hospital have been rising much more slowly and are a much lower percentage of positive cases since large proportions of the population have been vaccinated.

Nationally, the picture is more encouraging – numbers of people admitted to hospital or dying within 28 days of a positive test are both falling (though numbers of people testing positive had risen a little, the rate of increase is fairly slow, and confined to particular age groups).

Both locally and nationally, cases are highest amongst those aged 10-14.

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 been rising back up again after a dramatic fall (blue line on chart)- to around 210/day rather than around 110/day (though also still well below the numbers around 350 of the previous few weeks). In the seven days to 27th September, 1,500 people in total tested positive for the first time, more than double the 702 people in the seven days to the 16th September.
  • The number of people being admitted to hospital with or diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 (purple double line on chart) has risen to its highest level in this ‘wave’ (73 people admitted in the week to 26th September – compared to 48 in the week to the 19th). This is the highest number of people admitted/diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 since the week to the 11th February (76 people), and similar to the number at the start of the second local ‘wave’ – 79 in the week to 10th November (around the time the second national lockdown was introduced). Many more of these patients are discharged quickly in this ‘wave’ than previously however, meaning:
  • There are 33 people who were in Gloucester/Cheltenham hospitals with Covid-19, as of 28th September (red columns on chart) – this is up from 28 patients on the 21st Sept). Four of these patients are in Mechanical Ventilation beds (the same number as a week previously). We wish all patients well with their recovery.
  • Two people who lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the week to 17th September which is the latest data for this measure (black bars on chart). 31 people who lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate between 1st June and 10th September – of the total 1,216 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 186 to 280 per 100,000 across different districts (compared to 130 to 165 per 100,000 people last week). Across Gloucestershire the rate has increased from 143 to 221 as of the 25th September, but this is much lower than the 365 per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire on the 6th September. This is now equivalent to around one in every 450 people testing positive for the first time in the last week, rather than one in every 270 people.

The rates are similar to those at the start of July (before a rise associated with the mens Euro2020 football tournament). Stroud district has a rate of 218 per 100,000 or one in every approx. 460 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 (although one that appears to be peaking). The England rate is now 334 per 100,000 – roughly a third higher than the rate across Gloucestershire (one in every 300 people). Given schools have reopened we would expect an increase in transmission – and locally and nationally the age breakdown below certainly suggests some transmission among school-aged children and, to a lesser extent, their parents. You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire, or districts within it, on the government’s dashboard, and there is more information below.

(we have recently heard a number of anecdotal reports of some likely infections where people received inconclusive or possible false negative PCR tests. That the drop coincided with but was steeper than the average across England, and rates are now becoming closer to the England average again hints that there may have been a testing issue… We have shared a post in our group about lateral flow results – emphasising that testing positive on a lateral flow device (especially repeatedly and/or if you have symptoms) is very likely to mean you are positive – so please do what you can to reduce the chances of passing the virus on).

The chart below shows the difference in rates for people aged over and under 60. In the week to the 25th September, 1,242 of the 1,418 people living in Gloucestershire to test positive for the first time were aged under 60 (88%), compared to 176 people aged 60+. The rate per 100,000 people aged under 60 was 270, nearly three times the 98 per 100,000 people aged 60 or over. The rise in those under 60 is particular concentrated among those aged 5-19, with a rate of 993 per 100,000 for 10-14 year olds (i.e, nearly one in every 100 children aged 10-14 across Gloucestershire tested positive for the first time in the past week alone).

Source: data dashboard – Gloucestershire

Across England, there is more detailed age breakdown showing that “case rates are highest in those aged 10 to 19 years old and lowest in over 80s.” Case rates have risen very dramatically among those aged 10-19 (as we’d expect given very low levels of vaccination and schools returning). Similarly rates have been rising consistently among 5-9 years for some time (since early August).

Source: Health Security Agency

(I’ll include a local breakdown chart by age next week – but having looked at the data – it’s a very similar picture here – with rates highest among 10-14s, followed by 15-19 and 5-9s. There’s also a slight rise in 40-49 year olds – plausibly the parents of children testing positive).

Within Stroud district, the rate of people testing positive compared to the population is highest in is Nailsworth at 394 per 100,000 people (roughly one in every 250 people testing positive for the first time in the week alone). This comes with 26 people testing positive in the week to 25th September, rising fairly dramatically – 20 more than the total to test positive in the previous week (6).

Around the county the highest county rate is in Cinderford at 433 per 100,000 from 57 people testing psotiive in the week for the first time (up 35 on the previous week).

Stroud Town has seen 25 people test positive for the first time in the seven days to 25th September, giving a rate of 214 per 100,000 people (in other words, roughly 1 in every 470 people). See below for more detail on the parts of Stroud district.

Source: govt interactive map

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+ have received at least one dose and 84.4% have received a second 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 246,196. This is 6.5% higher than the number that tested positive in the previous week. The number of tests completed has risen a little – 2.9% – but 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 considerably. It is still a lot of people at 859 in the past seven days, but that is a 14% drop on the week before (when 998 people died).

The number of patients being admitted to hospital is also falling (5,117 in the past 7 days, lower than at any time since July). The drop is 14% – 813 fewer people were admitted this week compared to last. 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.

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 727,000 people had a symptomatic infection on the 30th September, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users (up from around 660,000 on the 23rd September). The ONS estimate that, for the week to the 18th 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 to that date (with a rise in Wales, and plateau/flat in the percentage of people testing positive in Northern Ireland and Scotland).

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 excess mortality at 15.8 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, and Russia. 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.