We post regular updates on news around vaccination eligibility/rollout, government policy and more in our Facebook group, where you can also ask any questions you have about any aspect of the pandemic and response. A summary of key guidance is included at the end of this update.
Weekly data for Gloucestershire
In the most recent data:
- 8,177 people living in Gloucestershire tested positive in the week to the 1st February. This is very, very high and up substantially from the week to the 25th January (when 7,562 people tested positive), though it is still lower than the recent peak when 9,770 people tested positive for the first time in the week to 4th January 2022. These numbers now include data on reinfections too – showing 625 people of those who tested positive in the most recent week had possible reinfections – and that a total of 4,183 people may have been infected more than once in Gloucestershire. (the peak to January 4th is higher than we have previously as a result).
- 84 people were admitted to Gloucester/Cheltenham hospital with Covid-19, or diagnosed in the hospital in the week to the 30th January. This is very similar to the 82 last week, but down substantially from the peak of 128 in the week to 3rd January. The weekly number of patients admitted with Covid-19 is around 42% the peak level in January 2021.
- There were 59 people in Gloucester/Cheltenham hospital with Covid-19 as of 1st February 2022. This is down to approaching half the recent peak of 116 on the 5th January 2022, and the lowest number since 17th December 2021. It represents a quarter – 26% – of the peak occupancy in January 2021.
- There were two active Covid-19 patients in local critical care beds as of the 1st February. We wish them well with their recovery. For comparison, on 1st February 2021 there were 14 Covid-19 patients in local critical care beds, and as recently as 10th December there were 11.
- Eleven more people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the most recent week we have data for – to 21st January (five of them had lived in Stroud district). Since August 2021 a total of 160 people who had lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, of a total 1,352 people who have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate since the pandemic began (248 of them had been living in Stroud district). We send our best wishes to everyone in hospital and their loved ones, and our condolences to those who have lost loved ones.
The chart below shows the numbers above in context both for this ‘wave’ and for the previous peaks in March-April 2020, and October 2020-February 2021. Weekly numbers of people dying are much lower – but while hospital admissions and numbers of people in hospital at any one time are not as high as in previous waves, they are still significant.
The chart below compares numbers of people testing positive, being admitted to hospital, or dying within 28 days of a positive test compared to the peak week in January 2021. The chart shows how the number of people testing positive in a week reached 399% what it was at the peak in January 2021, and after falling to 217% has now risen to 299%, three times as many people testing positive for the first time in a single week! The number of people in local acute hospitals with Covid-19 in hospital is at 33% of the peak (having reached just over half – 51% – on the 3rd, 5th, and 10th of January). The numbers of people dying are lower – but still significant at 17% of the January 2021 peak on 25th January. (test data from 1st September – mid October 2021 is excluded because of the impact of false negatives from the Immensa lab distorting the data)
We can do the same analysis for England – where the picture is similar:
- The number of people testing positive is falling – even with the new inclusion of reinfections. Nonetheless, the weekly total is very high – over half a million people: 547,935 tested positive in the week to 1st Febuary, 155% of the January 2021 peak (having reached 339% on 4th January)
- Numbers of people in hospital with Covid-19 (12,896) are also falling – and but are still significant at 38% of the January 2021 peak (having reached 50% on 10th January)
- 1,338 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the week to 1st February 2022 (16% of the January 2021 peak). This figure is likely to rise as not all death certificates will have been issued. The highest recent weekly total is 1,729 people in the week to 22nd January, around a fifth the weekly total of the highest ever week (21%).
The chart below shows how rates of people testing positive locally have risen above the rate across England as a whole. However, the rate of increase appears to be slowing so we are probably approaching a peak, and hopefully rates will start to fall locally as they are nationally soon. Rates are very high with around 1 in every 80-90 people testing positive in the past week (a little lower for Stroud district than Gloucestershire, but this could just reflect takeup or testing, or a delay). Importantly, this data does not capture all infections as not everyone gets tested. True rates estimated to be as high as 1 in every 20 people with an active infection recently by the ONS random sample testing.
Case rates continue to be much lower for local people aged 60 and over – and indeed are still falling for this age group. In the week to the 30th January, 842 people aged 60 and over tested positive (compared to 657 in the previous week). Among under 60s, 7,353 people testing positive (6,491 last week). That means 90% of those to test positive were aged under 60. Rates relative to population among over 60s were 468 per 100,000 (approx 1 in every 215 people), around a third the rate among under 60s (1,596 per 100,000 or approx 1 in every 60 people). Rates among over 60s are not only lower but have risen much less sharply in recent weeks. This is likely to have a lot to do with a) booster takeup being higher among over 60s and b) under 60s being more likely to be in indoor environments with large numbers of people where the virus can spread (ie, schools and workplaces).
At the moment, case rates in Gloucestershire are highest for 10-14 year olds, at 3,004 per 100,000, or 3%, around 1 in every 33 children in this age group testing positive just in the past week (the equivalent of pretty much a child in every class).
Rates are also above 1 in every 100 people for all age groups from 5-49 See data via a chart on the government dashboard (“cases by specimen date age demographics” – you’ll have to hover on the chart for the data).
The chart below shows Critical Care bed occupancy for Gloucestershire NHS Foundation Trust (covering Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals), over the past year or so. You can see the days where there were zero active Covid-19 patients (places without red at the right of the chart – recently – and in March-April 2021, and July 2021), but also the new occupancy by two Covid-19 patient. There are also a lot of non-Covid-19 patients in ICU, with only 3 unoccupied ICU beds locally as of 1st February.
At a more local level, case rates are mixed – but a number of areas have risen into rates of over 800 per 100,000 people, and a few into over 1,600 per 100,000 people. Numbers of people testing positive in a week in Stroud town, for example, have risen to 145 in the week to 30th January from 71 last week (and 143 in the week to 3rd January). This is very high rate of 1,243 per 100,000 (around 1 in every 80 people).
Rates locally are lowest in Minchimhampton and Amberley (583 per 100,000 – around 1 in every 170 people), and highest in Stroud district in Wotton-under-Edge at almost three times that rate (1,434 per 100,000 – around 1 in every 70 people testing positive for the first time in a week). Across Gloucestershire, rates are highest in Bishop’s Cleeve 2,009 per 100,000 (or over 1 in every 50 people), and Cinderford (2,030 per 100,000) and rising in both places.
You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire, or districts within it, on the government’s dashboard, and there is more information below. You can also enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.
In addition to the chart above for England you can view a summary of the trends for the UK on the government dashboard at this link (you can also explore the data by nation, region, or local authority area).
Across the UK as the whole, KCL/ZOE app team also independently estimate around 2.4 million people had an active infection on the 4th February, based on symptom reporting and reporting of test results by up to 4.7 million app users. This is up from 2.2 million last week and back to the level of the week before that. However, ZOE estimate around 200,000 people are being newly infected every day (up from 140,000 two weeks ago).
Patients being treated primary for covid are falling faster, and now represent less than half of those in hospital with Covid – as Colin Angus shows (meaning the drops in total patient numbers are actually more encouraging than they first appear (this is not yet quite true in the South West, but it is getting closer)
Whether people have access to testing strongly influences confirmed case numbers by continent, but across the world as a whole cases are rising rapidly again – to levels far beyond what has been seen before – 21 million people tested positive in the week to 3rd February – falling since a peak of 24 million people in the week to the 24th January, with cases appearing to peak in all continents.
Numbers of people dying with their death attributed to Covid-19 are currently highest in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, the USA, and Uruguay. In all these countries more than 50 people in every million have died just in the past week.
Here’s a neat couple of charts from John Burn-Murdoch showing how the ‘infection fatality rate’ (IFR – how many people die of those infected) varies for Covid-19 compared to seasonal flu, by age, and compared between mid-2020 (pre vaccination and largely the original virus) and early 2022 (when immunity from vaccination or prior infection, better treatments and the reduced severity of Omicron have all led to much closer IFRs – though Covid-19 is still more deadly than flu for older people). As John adds, “
when it comes to Covid’s overall burden, remember that IFR is multiplied by total number of infections, so with Covid (and particularly the most recent variants) being much more transmissible than flu, it’s not as simple as “only 2x as lethal, great”” (because more people are infected, so even if the proportion who die is closer, a higher number of people will end up dying).
Read the latest government rules and guidance. Some key, locally focused, information and links below. You may find the flowchart below useful (click for a fully up to date/larger flowchart of Testing and Isolation guidance in England)
The core advice remains: If you have symptoms (or if you are asked to by contact tracers), self-isolate and get a PCR test. If it is positive you must isolate for at least 5 days from your symptoms appearing or a positive lateral flow result. If you test negative on Lateral Flow two days in the row on days 5 and 6 or a pair of days after this, you can leave isolation. 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. There is a wider list of symptoms associated with the virus to look out for from the ZOE symptom study – people who are vaccinated are particularly like to experience cold-like symptoms including headache, runny nose, sore throat etc.
Rapid tests for people without symptoms are available to everyone in England – and the government is recommending people take them either twice a week, or before mixing with others (which could be more often), and daily if identified as a contact of someone with a confirmed infection, but not required to isolated (if fully vaccinated or under 18).
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 are now legally required in some indoor settings again – and 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.