23 Oct 2022 update

These reports are now fortnightly rather than weekly. We hope they are still useful to people – and we will consider increasing frequency should there be a need. This one is actually 3 weeks since the last – sorry about that.

Key links around vaccinations, testing, and government guidance are included at the end of this update. If you have a question about any of this, please ask in our Facebook group. For further info, see the COVID-19 Actuaries Group weekly report.

Autumn booster vaccinations locally are the new ‘bivalent’ vaccines designed to prompt immune responses to both the ‘original’ strain of SARS-COV-2 and the Omicron BA.1 variant. People will mainly be receiving Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty bivalent vaccine when attending for autumn boosters now, previously Moderna/Spikevax had been used so far, but stocks of that have mostly been used up. Theses are both mRNA vaccines, but for people who have an allergy to PEG, there is an alternative (if you think this might be you, discuss with your GP and they’ll refer you for a non-mRNA vaccine if appropriate).

The key point re boosters is that if you are eligible but haven’t had one yet: your GP will invite you in soon – there is some capacity on the National Booking System and additional locally organised drop-ins. But GP surgeries are organising loads of clinics over next three weeks for all eligible (everyone over 50 plus at risk of all ages).

The latest local COVID-19 data:

The dramatic recent rise apparent in the numbers of people testing positive in local hospital beds has peaked and turned to a dramatic fall. The number of patients that had tested positive peaked at 181 on 24th Sept (as we reported last time), before falling a little to less than half of this number, 79 as of the 19th October (the most recent data available).

The previous peak this year was 174 patients, but the recent peak was still well below the highest ever number of patients in local hospitals confimed to have tested positive for SARS-COV-2 (262 patients at the peak in January 2021). Comparisons with previous periods are a little misleading, as a higher proportion than previously are now treated primarily for something else (meaning the situation now is in reality much better than a comparison of raw numbers implies). However, high numbers of positive cases in hospital environments are still a huge problem for hospitals which have to work hard to prevent spread to patients who may be at very high risk if they are infected.

Source: the UKHSA dashboard data for Gloucestershire

It’s crucial to stress that, unlike in previous waves, few patients have been admitted to critical care recently with COVID-19 despite this rapid rise in people testing positive in hospital. While people can still get virus and be badly affected – there were three patients in critical care with COVID-19 locally as of 19th October, there have previously been as many as 19 patients in local critical care with COVID-19 when wider hospital numbers have peaked.

Similarly, while it takes time for people to get sick enough to die because of the disease. The most recent data shows two people who had lived in Gloucestershire died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the most recent week (to 7th October). 20 people who had lived in Gloucestershire have died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate since our last update. A total of 1,658 people who had lived in Gloucestershire have died with COVID-19 at least contributing according to clinicians. Again, this is by no means something good to report, but is far from the worst weeks at the start of 2021 (71 deaths in a week) or in early 2020 (127 deaths in a week)

There were no deaths of people who had lived in Stroud district where COVID-19 has been involved in the most recent weeks of data. However, there have been two deaths since we last reported (in the week to 30th September). A total of 310 people who had lived in Stroud district have now died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate.

Numbers of people with infections were still rising nationally and regionally as of the latest date from the ONS: around one in every 30 people would have tested positive in the week ending 11th October across England and the South West. These estimates come 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 (with around 75,000 tests per week). The similarity between the percentages testing positive at anyone time and the trends indicate that the England data is a relatively good guide to the local situation, even with Gloucestershire data only being available once a month.

Source: ONS infection survey

The chart below shows how ONS estimates of prevalence of the virus related to ZOE estimates and data from people who report positive test results on the government website. You can see how the trends have similar patterns, even if different methodologies lead to different estimates for the numbers of people with the virus at any one time.

National summary

The hospital situation is similar nationally to locally, with admissions to hospital falling.

Deaths by date of death for instances where COVID-19 is mentioned on a death certificate by a clinician as at least contributing to the death are starting to rise (later than hospitalisations, as it takes time for people to get ill enough to die). The current 7-day average is 46 people dying across the UK with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate, but this is only data to the 23rd September.

There have been 208,497 total deaths of people who had lived in the UK, in total. You can see on the chart below that weekly deaths have been much lower since the introduction of vaccines from December 2020. Nonetheless, 31,155 people have died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate in 2022 so far (2021: 82,344 people, 2020: 94,998 people).


For a great broader 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.

International context

Whether people have access to testing strongly influences confirmed case numbers by continent, but across the world weekly COVID-19 cases are falling slowly. Around 3.0 million people tested positive in the week to 22nd October, down from 3.1 in the week to 22nd September.

The numbers of daily confirmed deaths appears to be rising again at a global level, after a recent peak around August 20th, well below the rates from mid-April 2020, let alone 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:

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.