The latest local data:
Infections are very high, again. About 1 in every 20 people in Gloucestershire is estimated to have had a SARS-COV-2 infection in the week to 30th June (up from 1 in every 25 in the week to the 24th). This estimate comes from the Office for National Statistics, who produce estimates for the percentage of people that would test positive in a week, based on a large scale PCR-test based ‘infection survey’ designed to represent the population. The chart below shows recent data for Gloucestershire and England. Rates in Gloucestershire are apparently higher (5%), than across England (4%). The trend is essentially the same – with little sign of any slow down or peak. Infections are high for a variety of reasons – but including most obviously that the currently dominant variant of the virus (“BA.5” version of Omicron) continues to be capable of evading immunity generated either by previous infection or vaccination, and that there are fewer mitigations and restrictions being adopted/in place.
The total number of people who have tested positive and are occupying any hospital bed in Gloucestershire was 113 as of 5th July. This is more than double the 53 last week, and more than four times the 2022 low of 24 patients on 12th June (one more doubling will cause the number of patients tested positive to exceed the highest level in 2022 – 174 on the 28th Feb. It would take a further doubling to exceed the number of 254 patients at the peak in January 2021). While numbers in hospital are rising, a higher proportion than previously are now treated primarily for something else – and it is notable that despite 113 patients in local hospital beds, there were no COVID-19 patients in critical care beds locally on the 5th July (though there were a few COVID-19 patients in critical care beds locally from 22nd June to 3rd July).
6 people who had lived in Gloucestershire died with COVID-19 listed as a cause of death in the most recent week of this data (to 24th June). None of them involved people who had lived in the Stroud district. These deaths bring the total number of people who have died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death cerficiate in Gloucestershire to 1,573. Across Stroud district the total is 299. The chart below shows how people have been less likely to die in the post-vaccination era (underplaying this because in the absence of restrictions and with more transmissable variants, far more people have been infected – but are less likely to be hospitalised, let alone to experience the severest symptoms). Many people have been admitted to hospital or diagnosed in hospital in recent months – but these are less likely to be severe cases of COVID-19.
The chart below takes the hospital numbers for 2022 alone so the recent changes can be seen more easily. 53 patients is still lower than the numbers from January – March 2022, but the increase from 24 in only a couple of weeks is concerning.
The chart below shows how there have still been some COVID-19 patients admit to critical care locally in recent months, but that since January 2022, the number has never been above 5. Between 5th and 21st June there were no patients with COVID-19 in local critical care beds, the longest period without a patient in critical care that we have data for (ie, since December 2020) – but as you can see there have been patients being treated for COVID-19 since 22nd June and were two as of 28th June.
On the subject of critical care, data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre makes clear the greater risk of intensive care admission for COVID-19 for unvaccinated people, compared to vaccinated people – particularly for those aged 50+.
For a great summary of the national situation, see the ONS “Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights” page, which is updated with the latest possible data from the Office for National Statistics and other sources. This includes that 97.6% of people tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19 (generated either by immune response to infection, vaccination, or both), but also that as many as 1 in every 33 people reported they were living with long COVID symptoms.
More detailed information from the ONS shows infection rates rising in all English regions (highest in London, lowest in Yorkshire and the Humber) and across all age groups (highest among 50-69, and 25-34 year olds; lowest among primary school children).
Sadly, at a national level, the number of patients being admitted to and in hospital with COVID-19 continues to rise, up 33% week-on-week across England, with numbers of patients occupying beds also rising at 34%, to 11,465 patients.
Not every patient with COVID-19 has the disease as their primary reason for hospitalisation – but among those where this is the case, numbers have also risen. There are now 3,749 people being primarily treated for COVID, up from 2,877 people last week.
In terms of deaths, data from the ONS makes clear that rates are still higher among unvaccinated people – though the gap is reducing as ‘unvaccinated’ as a group more and more covers people who have some immunity from infection. Nonetheless, in May 2022, deaths rates involving COVID (i.e. where it is mentioned on the death certificate as at least contributing to death) were twice as high among unvaccinated people – after adjusting for age.
In the most recent data, 346 people who had lived in the UK, died with COVID-19 listed on their death certificate (week to 24th June). Data by date of death shows the 7-day average has plateaued at 35 deaths where COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate a day.
- “In the week ending 24 June 2022 (Week 25), 10,836 deaths were registered in England and Wales; 285 of these deaths mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 2.6 % of all deaths.”
- “Of the 285 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 25, 58.2%. (166 deaths) had this recorded as the underlying cause of death, a decrease from 61.0% in Week 24.”
- “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 24 June 2022 (Week 25) was 12,278, which was 15.9 % above the five-year average (1,682 excess deaths); of these deaths, 346 involved COVID-19, which was 37 more than in Week 24.”
22,609 people who had lived in the UK died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate as at least contributing to their death in 2022 so far, of a total 199,795 people since the pandemic began (around 11% of total covid deaths have been in 2022).
New data from the ONS continued to estimate 3% of the population self-reported an experience of Long Covid as of 4th June. The figure dropped ever so slightly, which may not be an indication of a falling trend yet but at least is an indication it is rising less fast, despite large numbers of infections.
The proportion of people who report at least one Long COVID symptom between 4 and 12 weeks after infection, compared to the ONS infection survey estimates of the number of people infected, seems to have fallen considerably – though still at a fairly concerning 3.1% (ie, one in every 33 people infected will go on to experience lingering symptoms for at least between 4 and 12 weeks).
Whether people have access to testing strongly influences confirmed case numbers by continent, but across the world as a whole cases are just about rising slowly. around 6.2 million people tested positive in the week to 9th July, up on the 5.4 million last week (obviously with wide variation within continents). The rise is clearest in Europe, though this is likely in considerable part due to increased access to testing. Rises are also apparent across North and South America.
Globally, deaths appear to be starting to rise, but from the lowest levels since the early weeks of March 2020- well below the peak rates from January and April 2021 (Alpha variant), August 2021 (Delta variant), and February 2022 (first wave of Omicron variant)
Please refer to the NHS and government guidance on:
- Information about the “Spring booster” rollout in Gloucestershire on the local NHS website.
- Details regarding the testing system – including who can access tests
- What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19
- What to do if you’ve been in close contact with someone with COVID-19
- How to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19
- Summary government “Guidance for living safely with respiratory infections, including coronavirus (COVID-19)“
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 have making life difficult for many people. We’re also volunteers with no public health expertise – collating and signposting to other sources for guidance and authoritative data.
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.