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. Before the local data some good news from the national summary – numbers of people testing positive, people being admitted to hospital with Covid-19, and people dying within 28 days of a positive test are all falling (as are numbers of tests conducted – which is hopefully related to fewer people having symptoms/being contacts as much as anything else – random sample infection surveys confirm prevalence is falling).
The latest more robust data on deaths shows 1,390 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the week to 4th February. This is a significant number of people and we send out condolences to loved ones. It is important to note that this represents a third week where the weekly total has fallen, lower than the 1,545 people in the week before, and the 1,673 peak week to 21st January. It is also important to note that – despite far higher case numbers, weekly deaths are much lower than the previous peak weeks when around 9,000 people died in April 2020 and January 2021. Hopefully the trend will continue to go down.
Weekly data for Gloucestershire
In the most recent data:
- 4,718 people living in Gloucestershire tested positive in the week to the 15th February. This is still very high but down substantially to less than half this ‘wave’s peak when 9,770 people tested positive for the first time in the week to 4th January 2022. Weekly totals have been falling consistently since the 1st February
- 151 people were admitted to Gloucester/Cheltenham hospital with Covid-19, or diagnosed in the hospital in the week to the 13th February. A new weekly high for this ‘wave’ was reached on 8th February at 163 people admitted. It is possible, however, that a larger proportion of these admissions are now ‘incidental’ (ie, where Covid is not the cause of the admission but an infection is identified on hospital-entry testing, see below for national data), but we shouldn’t be complacent as even mild covid can complicate other health issues, and always creates issues for infection control in hospitals.
- There were 91 people in Gloucester/Cheltenham hospital with Covid-19 as of 15th February 2022. This is the same number as on 8th February last week, and represents 40% of the peak occupancy in January 2021. Again, there may be a higher proportion being primarily treated for other issues now (see national data below), but this is still a significant number of patients – and covid will be causing infection control issues and complicating other medical issues even where it is not the primary cause of admission (which for at least some of these 91 patients it will be). That cases in hospital are less severe is suggested by the fact there have been no Covid patients on mechanical ventilation in Gloucestershire since 6th January.
- Seven more people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the most recent week we have data for – to 4th February (one of them had lived in Stroud district). Since August 2021 a total of 173 people who had lived in Gloucestershire have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, of a total 1,368 people who have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate since the pandemic began (253 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 recent hospitalisation, bed occupancy and death numbers. We’re still in a situation approximately as bad as it has been since June last year (though better than in previous waves, see below)
In the chart below, the above data is placed in context of previous waves – where hospital admissions and numbers of patients rose more sharply. With few restrictions and the easily spread Omicron variant, we see that weekly numbers of admissions to hospital are close to the levels of previous ‘peaks’ – and yet numbers of people dying per week are much lower – thanks both to vaccination and – for more recent weeks – perhaps due to Omicron being a slighly less severe variant too.
The chart below shows how rates of people testing positive relative to population are falling locally and nationally. Rates are a little higher across Gloucestershire than across England as a whole, with Stroud district appearing in the middle – with around 1 in every 140 people testing positive in the past week. 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. Rates are back to where they were in mid-December last year.
Case rates continue to be much lower for local people aged 60 and over, and thankfully are falling in that group again having been rising recently. In the week to the 14th February, 823 people aged 60 and over tested positive (compared to 1,092 in the previous week). Among under 60s, 4,096 people testing positive (5,752 last week). That means 83% of those to test positive were aged under 60 (very similar to the 84% last week). Rates relative to population among over 60s were 457 per 100,000 (approx 1 in every 220 people), around half the rate among under 60s (889 per 100,000 or approx 1 in every 110 people). In both cases rates are around where they were in mid-December last year.
At the moment, case rates in Gloucestershire are still highest for 10-14 year olds, at 1,240 per 100,000 or 1.2% (still very high at around 1 in every 80 children testing positive in a week, but lower than the 3% or around 1 in every 33 children of a couple of weeks ago.
Rates are also above 1 in every 100 people for all age groups from 25-44, and just below this level for 15-19 and 45-49 year olds. 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).
In terms of geographic variation, case rates are mixed at more local levels – but even more areas have seen rates fall back below 800 per 100,000 people (though there are still a few where over 1,600 per 100,000 people have tested positive in the past week). There are now no areas in the county with rates over 1,600 per 100,000 people.
Numbers of people testing positive in a week in Stroud town, for example, have fallen to 77 in the week to 14th February from 111 last week. This is still a high rate of 660 per 100,000 (around 1 in every 150 people) – but it’s much lower than it has been recently and looks to be on a clear downward trend.
Rates locally are lowest in Ebley & Randwick (483 per 100,000 – around 1 in every 210 people), and highest in Stroud district in Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington at over double that rate (1,080 per 100,000 – around 1 in every 100 people testing positive in a week). Across Gloucestershire, rates are highest in Brockworth & Coopers Edge at 1,256 per 100,000 or around one in every 80 people testing positive in the past week – but falling, as they seem to be in almost all local areas across Gloucestershire).
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 2.6 million people had an active infection on the 19th February, based on symptom reporting and reporting of test results by up to 4.7 million app users. This is down from 2.7 million last week. ZOE estimate around 167,000 people are being newly infected every day (down from 195,000 a day a week ago).
ZOE provide the below chart estimating incidence (new cases per 100,000) by age group – showing rates low and flat for 55+, high but falling for 35-54s, high and flat for 18-34s, and very high but falling for 0-17s. Read more in ZOE’s latest update.
As mentioned above – patients are more likely now than in the past to be being treated ‘with’ Covid-19 rather than primarily ‘for’ it. Howevver, there are still lots of people being treated primary for Covid.
Here is a great chart and some commentary from John Burn-Murdoch emphasising the way in which vaccination in the UK has dramatically reduced the “infection fatality rate” for SARS-COV-2/COVID-19: “The period from Jan to July 2021, when IFR plummets almost 10-fold from 1.3% to 0.15%, coincides perfectly with vaccine rollout going from 0 to 90%.”
Whether people have access to testing strongly influences confirmed case numbers by continent, but across the world as a whole cases have started to drop – though still very high numbers are testing positive in a week – just under 14 million in the week to February 17th – 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 Bulgaria, Greenland, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Georgia, Hungary, Serbia, Greece, Slovenia, and Romania. In all these countries – and some small island states – more than 50 people in every million have died just in the past week.
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.