17th May 2021 data update

Before this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, is a quote from the government website acting as a summary of current guidance from today, 17th May:

  • “You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.
  • You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
  • The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
  • All higher education students will be able to access in-person teaching.
  • Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits will increase to 30 people (not including under 5s)
  • There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.”

If you have questions about any of the above, please ask in our Facebook group and we will do our best to explain/signpost to further information.

Please also read this additional government guidance: “Be careful: a new COVID-19 variant is spreading in some parts of England

Key data:

  • No-one from Stroud district or Gloucestershire as a whole died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, in either of the two most recent weeks of data (to 30th April). Data from the UK’s statistics agencies shows that 151,765 people living in the UK have died with their “death certificate mentioning COVID-19” as one of the causes – with another 232 people added to this total in the most recent week of data (compared to 290 the week before).
  • There is one person in a Gloucestershire hospital with Covid-19. They are in a mechanical ventilation bed, and we wish them well with their recovery.
  • For the first time since 14th September 2020 the total number of people with the virus in UK hospitals is below 1,000: 991 on the 13th May, down from 1,155 on the 6th May (and from a peak of 39,249 on 18th January). The lowest last summer was 803 on the 2nd September, so there is still a little way to go. The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds is now 129 (13th May, down from 163 on the 6th May, having peaked at 4,077 patients on 24th January). The lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August. We send our best for the recovery of all Covid-19 patients in hospital.
  • The number of people testing positive by PCR or Lateral Flow Device in Stroud is up slightly – 26 in the week compared to 18 last week and just 5 a few weeks ago, but is still lower than in the week ending 17st March: when 36 people tested positive). 10 of the people testing positive live in Wotton-under-Edge and Kingswood, and 2 or fewer people have tested positive in all other parts of the district other than Dursley, and Ebley and Randwick (3 each). Rates of the number of people testing positive per 100,000 people are still low locally: 10 per 100,000 across Gloucestershire (same as last week) and 21.7 per 100,000 in Stroud district. The rate in Stroud district is double what it was on 20th April and 6 times higher than on the 11th April but… in the context of still being low. Nonetheless, with more loosening of restrictions it’s worth a reminder not to be complacent or we could see cases rising significantly again (if in a context where most of those most at risk have been vaccinated).
  • In Stroud district 67% of adults, 55% of the total population, have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is higher than across England as a whole – where 56% of adults and 45% of the population as a whole have had a first dose. 33% of adults and 27% of the total population of Stroud district have had second doses. We’ve shared a piece this week looking at when the UK might reach population immunity thresholds estimated at between 69-75% of the total population having had the virus and/or been vaccinated (though even at that point there may be some caveats around different areas where rates of vaccination/prior infection are lower). Even adding people who’ve had the virus to the 55% of the total population to have had at least one dose locally, we’re still some distance from that point.
  • There is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day reached a new high on April 25th – 826,374 – and though it has been falling sharply since, and it appears cases are now falling in India which is very welcome news – it is still very high at 690,000 daily (7-day-rolling average to May 15th).
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Across Gloucestershire, 59 people tested positive in the week to the 12th May (down from a total of 68 for the week to 5th May). The number of people testing positive across the county is falling slowly – at a very low level, and could be higher than in August only because of more testing of people without symptoms (it’s hard to tell. Alternatively infections are still spreading among age groups that have not yet been vaccinated). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. The rate per 100,000 people for Gloucestershire is 10 (i.e., one in every 10,000 people has tested positive in the past week) – one of the lowest rates in the UK.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

26 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 12th May (quite a rise over the last few weeks from a low of 5 in the week to 7th April). There have still been several days relatively recently where no specimens submitted resulted in positive tests – the most recent on 10th and 7th May (prior to that it also happened on the 27th, 24th, 14th, 11th, 9th, 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd April. The rate per 100,000 people in Stroud district is for the past 7 days 21.7 – still low, though now in line with lots of places around England. It is roughly in line with the UK rate of 23.8 per 100,000 (meaning there are other places around the country with higher rates. The highest in England currently is Bolton with 255 per 100,000 (or 1 in every approximatey 390 people). That the number of people testing positive across Gloucestershire as a whole is falling while the numbers rise in Stroud district tells us that a greater proportion of positive tests in the county are in Stroud district, and that numbers are falling in the rest of the county as a whole.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

If we look at the number of PCR tests being done in Stroud district – and the proportion that test positive – we can see a little cause for concern. The positivity rate is still low – just 0.6% of the 3,111 tests done in the past 7 days in the district came back positive (compared to over 7% during the autumn/winter peaks). However, there is a clear sharp rise, and it comes in the context of the number of tests being done also rising. From a low base, and still at low levels, it is clear that the number of infections is rising. Hopefully, if people testing positive and their contacts isolate, and people continue to be cautious even as restrictions ease, this rise can be kept in check (and high numbers of people have now been vaccinated – particularly those most at risk, so this rise in infections isn’t as concerning at it was previously). Across Gloucestershire, 0.2% of the 16,621 people tested by PCR in the 7 days to 11th May tested positive (this hit a low of 0.1% on 1st May). That it is still this low across Gloucestershire given the rise in Stroud district suggests rates are falling across the rest of the county.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at who is testing positive in Stroud district by age, we can see that no-one over 70 has tested postive for several weeks (the area in yellow at the top right of the chart below is older age groups in recent weeks), and no-one over 65 in the most recent week. This suggests a vaccine effect – as you can see that people in these age groups tested positive in high numbers until recently. There are low rates across all ages in recent weeks (though none among 30-44 year olds in the most recent week), highest among 10-14 and 20-24. Hopefully these are cases among people who – from their age alone – we would expect to have the mildest symptoms, and the vaccine effect will continue to extend down the ages.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Stroud

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows the highest rate in the district – and indeed the county – is Wotton-under-Edge and Kingswood with 10 people testing positive in the week, giving a 7-day rolling rate of 112.7. A further 3 people have tested positive in neighbouring Dursley, and these could plausibly all be household contacts of an initial case or two, potentially associated with a single workplace or at a school (hence the 10-14 cases referred to above). Once again, almost all areas in Stroud district and the surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 11th May (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in many of these places).

Source: govt interactive map

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district).

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 32,647 people had a symptomtic infection on the 16th May, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. “The percentage of vaccinated ZOE app contributors that takes part in the infection survey now exceeds 89%, far higher than the rate of vaccination in the general UK population. To calculate incidence rates, ZOE is now adjusting its figures to more closely match the rate of vaccination in the general population to give the new incidence and prevalence estimates.

According to updated ZOE COVID Study figures, there are currently 2,782 new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average, based on swab test data from up to five days ago. This compares to 1,685 daily cases a week ago, an increase of 65% from last week. The figures from last week have also been updated to reflect the new methodology.”

While there is a clear rise in these estimates, Professor Tim Spector says: “While the increase in cases this week is likely to be real, the overall numbers are still just a fraction of what they were at the height of the pandemic. Increases of this size are to be expected with changes in social behaviour as restriction ease. We are also seeing milder forms of COVID-19 within vaccinated groups and younger people presenting with much less respiratory problems than previously.”

Vaccinations

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 29th April (the most recent available data) there had been 553,158 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire. The chart below shows how the rate at which second doses are being delivered is increasing while the number receiving first doses has flattened off. There are 11 weeks between the 9th May on the right and the 21st February. Slightly fewer people have received a second dose by 9th May (190,287) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (191,885), but overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should (dark blue column is above the red line linking back to the light blue column from 11 weeks ago). This seems to be getting tighter recently, perhaps due to supply, or just the logistics of this extremely large and long vaccination programme – but second doses are now due to be brought forward (lookout for a text if you are past or approaching 8 weeks since your first dose and haven’t had a second dose yet). The chart also shows how meeting increasing need for 2nd doses in a context of supply issues with AstraZeneca has slowed the delivery of 1st doses until recently, but these are now rising nicely again (around 10,000 had first doses in the most recent week, compared to around 4,000 in the week before that).

The chart below shows progress towards completion of the vaccination rollout locally, and compares this with proportions of the total population that have received one or two doses. The latter numbers give us an approximation of progress to ‘population (or herd) immunity’ – but we’d need to add a proportion for people who have prior infection from the virus and are unlikely to be reinfected, but have not been vaccinated.

The chart shows that in Stroud district 67% of adults have received a first dose – 55% of the total population. This is higher than in for Gloucestershire, the South West, and England as a whole – where 56% of adults and 45% of the population as a whole have had a first dose. This largely reflects different demographics (more people in Stroud district have been eligible to be invited for vaccination because of their age or other reasons to be in the priority groups), but will also include some impacts from different levels of takeup. In terms of second doses, 33% of adults and 27% of the total population of Stroud district have had them, compared to 29% (24%) of the England population.

Source: NHS England

The chart below shows vaccination coverage for the Stroud district, as proportions of the different age bands, compared to other areas. In theory this would show the takeup of vaccination by people, but its only an approximation – as though we know the number of people to have had first doses, we have to calculate this as a percentage of an estimate population of residents of different ages (from the Office for National Statistics 2019 estimate). The estimated number of residents in each age band won’t be quite right for various reasons – some people will have moved into an older age band, some will have moved to the area.

What is stark about the graph below is that 97% of people aged 65 or older in Stroud district have now had a second dose – and this is a much higher proportion than for Gloucestershire, the South West, and England – fully 10 percentage points higher than for England (87%). On the other hand, second doses are much lower for people aged 45-64 in Stroud district – these are largely the people whose second doses will be being broght forward (50+), so Stroud district will catch up here.

Stroud district is also ahead of other areas in terms of the numbers of people aged 16-44 to have received a first dose: 15% compared to 11% across the South West and England.

People aged 38 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link (and we expect this age to drop to 35 over the days to come), as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Cainscross Pharmacy/Britannia Dance Studio, Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings“). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

Prices Mill surgery update on 10th May says “We’ve been able to restart first doses again in earnest due to an increase in deliveries but had to tinker with our protocols at the last minute last week with the latest update from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: Under 40s and pregnant women receiving their first dose should now be offered Pfizer/Moderna in prefence to AZ as long as it does not adversely delay their vaccination. Going forward, our invitations will reflect this.Happily 69% of our adult population have now received their first dose and 35%, their second. That’s more than half of Cohorts 1-9 having both doses. Still no more cases in the practice” and “we will also be calling you if you choose not to take up [the mass vaccination offer for 38+ year olds], as soon as our supplies allow.”

Minchinhampton surgery update from 10th May reads: “1st vaccinations completed to date: 5,045, 2nd vaccinations completed to date: 2,630. The next vaccination clinics are planned for… 18th May at Horsfall House (1st & 2nd AstraZeneca vaccinations). Thank you to everyone who braved the weather to get to us at the weekend. We are getting there!”

No update from Rowcroft Medical Centre since 29th April which said “We have now sent text invitations (and attempted telephone contact with patients without mobile phones), for all of you aged 40 and over and all patients, of any age, in Cohort 6…. We are well on our way through our second dose vaccination clinics… If your first dose was before February 17th and you have not yet had your second please call us.” (given this was two weeks ago, it would not apply for people who had a first dose before March 3rd)

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district – we include updates from Facebook pages when we have them but don’t have them for all surgeries. The above gives a rough indication of where other local surgeries are likely to be with their rollout, however.

We’ve published five videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins (click to watch on Youtube). Please watch/share on Facebook via the link. And check out our previous videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge. GP surgeries are dealing with tens of thousands of vaccinations on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them. We will be interviewing someone next week – comment with a question on this post and we’ll do our best to ask it.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

National context

For more national context see this week’s Independent SAGE briefing – they’ve now done one every week for a year. This one includes Kit Yates covering data – including on variants of the virus (first 20 minutes of the video).

International context

While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, across the world as a whole numbers are rising and are at their highest ever levels. Countries across Europe have high rates – though cases are now falling across the European Union, as they also appear to be currently in South America, and North America. Cases are rising rapidly in Asia – including particularly in India (and even the rapid rise is likely to be an undercount – the proportion of tests that are positive is very high and experts agree cases are being missed).

There is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day reached a new high on April 25th – 826,374 – but has been falling sharply since, and it appears cases are now falling in India which is very welcome news – but is still very high at 690,000 daily (7-day-rolling average to May 15th).

Globally, over 3.25 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning. Our World in Data report the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) is falling again – to 12,536 on May 14th (before reaching the previous global peak of 14,435 on January 26th). However, it is worth remembering that there is robust evidence that data on the number of people dying in India, to give just one example, undercounts significantly the scale of the number of people who have died.

In terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths relative to the population, the United Kingdom has a fairly high rate (1,885), but lower than the worst countries – such as Hungary (3,014), Czechia (2,791), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2,737). The UK rate is higher than that for the European Union as a whole (1,600), and for North America (1,458) and South America (1,686) as a whole – but broadly in line with those continents (and this may reflect differences in testing/attribution). However, there are some countries with lower deaths rates – including Germany (1,027 – not much over half the UK rate), or much lower rates – Finland and Norway have rates 10 times lower than the UK (168 and 143 per million), and Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, and Vietnam have rates that barely register compared to the worst hit areas.

The United Kingdom is doing very well in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (83) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (122 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses), United Arab Emirates (116), and Chile (87). Globally, the rate is 19 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to mark getting their own vaccination.

The chart above covers both first and second doses – but different countries have different strategies (the UK has maximised first doses, while other countries have pursued both first and second doses equally, which slows the first dose rate. Some other countries have used single dose vaccines – as the UK may do eventually). In terms of full vaccination, Israel has the highest proportion fully vaccinated (59%), Chile (39%), Bahrain (37%), and USA (36%) all have higher rates than the UK (29%) – though the UK’s rate is still very high in terms of global comparisons (for example India has just 2.9% of the population fully vaccinated).

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines 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.


9th May 2021 data update

At the end of this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, is a summary and link to details of current guidance. The next stage of the government’s roadmap for easing restrictions is due to take place “no earlier than [Monday] 17 May”, in other words – one week’s time.

Key data:

  • No-one from Stroud district or Gloucestershire as a whole died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, in the most recent week of data (to 23rd April). Data from the UK’s statistics agencies shows that 151,533 people living in the UK have died with their “death certificate mentioning COVID-19” as one of the causes – with another 290 people added to this total in the most recent week of data (compared to 402 the week before).
  • There are three people in Gloucestershire hospitals with Covid-19, one in a mechanical ventilation bed, and we wish them well with their recoveries. Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast 101 people were admitted on the 27th April, compared to 165 seven days previously – and 4,577 at the peak on 12th January). The total number of people with the virus in UK hospitals was 1,152 on the 6th May, down from 1,451 on the 29th April (and from a peak of 39,249 on 18th January). The lowest last summer was 803 on the 2nd September, so there is still a little way to go. The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds is now 163 (6th May, down from 185 on the 30th April, having peaked at 4,077 patients on 24th January). The lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August. We send our best for the recovery of all Covid-19 patients in hospital.
  • Rates of the number of people testing positive per 100,000 people are still low in Stroud district and Gloucestershire: 13.3 per 100,000 in Stroud district, and 10 per 100,000 across Gloucestershire. The number of people testing positive by PCR or Lateral Flow Device in Stroud is up slightly – 18 in the week compared to 14 in each of the previous two weeks, but still lower than in the week ending 31st March: when 19 people tested positive). Some of these 18 are likely to be people testing positive from a Lateral Flow Device without having symptoms. The ZOE app/Kings College London estimate is at 9 active symptomatic infections for the district (up from 7 – the lowest estimate by the team).
  • Very close to 100% of people aged 65 or over in Stroud district have had a first dose, and around 86% a second dose (up from 75% last week, and compared to compared to 79% for England). For 45-64 year olds, around 93% have had a first dose, and around 14% a second dose (89% and 20% for England). Far lower proportions of people aged 16-44 have had first (28%) / second (9%) doses – vaccinations are being made available to people aged 40-45, but otherwise only people in this age group who are clinically vulnerable, work in health or social care, or are a carer will have been offered vaccinations.
  • Across the UK, as of 9th May over 50 million doses have been delivered (53,041,048) and 35,371,669 people have received at least a first dose (67.2% of UK adults have had a first dose and 33.5% have had a second. The proportion of the full population would be lower as there are a large number of people aged under 16 who are not eligible to be vaccinated – at least as yet).
  • Things are looking good in the UK, but there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day reached a new high on April 25th – 826,374 – but has been falling since (this partly reflects testing capacity, including in India – where the 7 day average reached 390,000 people testing positive on May 8th, but many cases are likely being missed).
  • Globally, the situation remains concerning. Our World in Data report that the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) is hopefully falling again – to 12,828 on May 7th (before reaching the previous global peak of 14,435 on January 26th). However, in the context of robust evidence that data on the number of people dying in India, to give just one example, undercounts significantly the scale of what is happening, it is likely that the number of people dying daily due to Covid-19 is as high as it has ever been.
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

We now have the data for the month of April – and across Gloucestershire the number of people testing positive (212) is less than half what it was in March (557). There’s been a huge drop since December 2020 and January 2021 when over 5,500 people tested positive. The monthly number isn’t quite as low as in August 2020 (136), but that likely reflects better testing. As discussed below, just 0.2% of PCR tests in Gloucestershire (i.e. tests done on people with symptoms or to confirm positive Lateral Flow Device results for people with no symptoms) produce positive results at the moment – as low as it was last summer.

Across Gloucestershire, 64 people tested positive in the week to the 6th May (down from a total of 84 for the week to 21st April). The number of people testing positive across the county is broadly flat – at a very low level, and could be higher than in August only because of more testing of people without symptoms (it’s hard to tell. Alternatively infections are still spreading among age groups that have not yet been vaccinated). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. The rate per 100,000 people for Gloucestershire is 10 (i.e., one in every 10,000 people has tested positive in the past week) – one of the lowest rates in the UK.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

18 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 6th May (slightly higher than the 15 and 14 in the two previous weeks). There were several days relatively recently where no specimens submitted resulted in positive tests – the most recent on 7th May (prior to that it also happened on the 27th, 24th, 14th, 11th, 9th, 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd April. The rate per 100,000 people in Stroud district is for the past 7 days 13.3 – still very low, though now in line with lots of places around England. It is still below the England rate of 21.4 per 100,000 (meaning there are other places around the country with higher rates. The highest in England currently is Bolton with 100.2 per 100,000 (or 1 in every 1,000 people).

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

If we look at the number of PCR tests being done in Stroud district – and the proportion that test positive – we can see that the number of test is broadly falling (as we’d expect if fewer people have symptoms). After a brief uptick in the proportion of tests that are positive, this proportion is down to the very lowest level again: 0.1% of the 2,882 tests completed in the last 7-day period for which data is available. It was lowest on the 14th April at 0.1% of 2,876 tests in the previous week – a very similar number of tests. At low numbers of total cases it is still hopefully the case that we are identifying more of the small number of people who have the virus as it continues to circulate – hopefully interrupting transmission chains as part of suppression, rather than reaching the point of such low prevalence that the only positive tests are ‘false positives’. Across Gloucestershire, 0.2% of the 15,340 people tested by PCR in the 7 days to 4th May tested positive (and this hit a low of 0.1% on 1st May).

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at who is testing positive in Stroud district by age, we can see that no-one over 75 has tested postive for several weeks (the area in yellow at the top right of the chart below is older age groups in recent weeks). Below that age – those most likely to have had two doses of vaccine, there are low rates across all ages in recent weeks. Hopefully the vaccine effect will extend down the ages.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Stroud

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows once again that almost all areas in Stroud district and the surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 4th May (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in many of these places). Only Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington have 3 cases – up 1 from last week indicating there were 2 there that weren’t shown on the map last week. Even this is plausibly one household. As we know 18 people have tested positive across Stroud district, the remaining 15 must be distributed across the different areas of the district, rather than there being an outbreak in one area (7 households of 2 people, or a larger number of households of a mix of 1 and 2 people). Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington is the area with the highest rate in Gloucestershire (43.7 per 100,000). That this is the highest rate helps us understand how low prevalence of the virus is across the county – and indeed the country, as you can see the rate is close to the England average.

Source: govt interactive map

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is down to 9 (nine) active symptomatic cases for the district – up by 2 from last week’s 7, but still lower than the previous week’s 11 by their measure. It is interesting that this is the first time the estimated number of active symptomatic people is lower than the number of people testing positive for the first time. The implication is that the PCR test positive total of 18 includes 7 who tested positive without symptoms or because of a false positive result – or that the ZOE/KCL estimate is too low because they haven’t had the reports of positive tests reported to them. Either way, the ZOE/KCL estimate being so low, coupled with the low positivity rate for PCR tests suggests prevalence locally is very low now.

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 16,011 people had a symptomtic infection on the 9th May, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 15,629 last week (a very slight rise, but still way off the peak of 806,000 on the 12th January). The KCL/ZOE team estimated a 17,391 people had infections on August 25th and we believe that today’s estimate is their lowest number of people with a symptomatic infection. Prof Tim Spector says “Rates still slowly dropping but at a lower rate and importantly no suggestion of upturn after pubs etc opened

Vaccinations

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 29th April (the most recent available data) there had been 519,965 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire. The chart below shows how the rate at which second doses are being delivered is increasing while the number receiving first doses has flattened off. There are 11 weeks between the 2nd May on the right and the 14th February. Slightly fewer people have received a second dose by 2nd May (167,680) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (168,623). Overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should (dark blue column is above the red line linking back to the light blue column from 11 weeks ago), but this seems to be getting tighter recently, perhaps due to supply, or just the logistics of this extremely large and long vaccination programme. The chart also shows how meeting increasing need for 2nd doses in a context of supply issues with AstraZeneca has slowed the delivery of 1st doses for now (just 18,968 people have had a first dose in the 5 weeks since 28th March, compared to 141,423 in the 5 weeks before that).

The chart below shows vaccination coverage for the Stroud district, as proportions of the different age bands, compared to other areas. In theory this would show the takeup of vaccination by people, but its only an approximation – as though we know the number of people to have had first doses, we have to calculate this as a percentage of an estimate population of residents of different ages (from the Office for National Statistics 2019 estimate). The estimated number of residents in each age band won’t be quite right for various reasons – some people will have moved into an older age band, some will have moved to the area.
The chart below shows that very close to 100% of people aged 65 or over in Stroud district have had a first dose, and around 86% a second dose (up from 75% last week, and compared to compared to 79% for England). For 45-64 year olds, around 93% have had a first dose, and around 14% a second dose (89% and 20% for England). Far lower proportions of people aged 16-44 have had first (28%) / second (9%) doses – vaccinations are being made available to people aged 40-45, but otherwise only people in this age group who are clinically vulnerable, work in health or social care, or are a carer will have been offered vaccinations. Rates are generally the same in Stroud district as they are for Gloucestershire, the South West, and England as a whole, slightly ahead for 2nd doses for people aged 65 and over, slightly behind for second doses for people aged 45-64 and 1st and second doses for people aged 16-44. This largely reflects the different age profiles of the different areas, probably.

Source: NHS England

People aged 40 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Cainscross Pharmacy/Britannia Dance Studio, Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings“). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

We’ve published five videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins (click to watch on Youtube). Please watch/share on Facebook via the link. And check out our previous videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

Prices Mill surgery update on 4th May says “The [Beeches] vaccination hub in Stroud continued over the bank holiday weekend unabated with 32% of our registered adult population having now received two doses of Covid vaccine, equivalent to 52% of Cohorts 1-9. That’s 5,231 first doses and 2,499 second doses. As you may have seen last week; over 40s can now book to be vaccinated at one of the regional hubs. If you would prefer to wait, we will of course invite you locally in due course as supplies allow. Given that the vaccine takes up to 3 weeks to kick in after the first dose; Sooner is, however, better than later!”

Minchinhampton surgery update from 29th April reads: “

Covid-19 Vaccination Update for Minchinhampton patients: “1st vaccinations completed to date: 5,042, 2nd vaccinations completed to date: 2,319… If you had your 1st Pfizer vaccination on or before 25th February please contact the surgery to arrange your second. (Top tip: our phones tend to be a bit quieter in the afternoon ….)”

No update from Rowcroft Medical Centre since 29th April which said “We have now sent text invitations (and attempted telephone contact with patients without mobile phones), for all of you aged 40 and over and all patients, of any age, in Cohort 6. The invitations are from AccuRx which is our booking system and you should use the link in the text to book. If you do not have a smart phone and you receive a text on your mobile please call us and we will make the booking for you….

We are well on our way through our second dose vaccination clinics and are starting to send out invitations for patients who received their first vaccination on February 17th, 18th and 19th. These will have come to you by text and include a link for you to automatically book yourselves into our session on May 8th. We are also in the process of contacting all our patients who do not have a mobile number. Whilst you are waiting for a first dose clinic with us you may receive an invitation from the NHS to book a place at a national mass vaccination site, who do seem to have supplies of first dose vaccine. If you do get an invitation please feel free to accept it as we currently have no real information as to when we will start receiving regular first dose deliveries. As soon as we know we will tell you. If your first dose was before February 17th and you have not yet had your second please call us. Next week we start sending invitations out to patients who received their first vaccination on February 23rd, 24th and 25th – please do not contact us about your second doses yet as we must prioritise patients who received their vaccine first.”

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district – we include updates from Facebook pages when we have them but don’t have them for all surgeries. The above gives a rough indication of where other local surgeries are likely to be with their rollout, however.

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge. GP surgeries are dealing with tens of thousands of vaccinations on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them. We will be interviewing someone next week – comment with a question on this post and we’ll do our best to ask it.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

National context

For more national context see this week’s Independent SAGE briefing – they’ve now done one every week for a year. This one includes Prof Christina Pagel covering data – including on variants of the virus.

International context

While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, across the world as a whole numbers are rising and are at their highest ever levels. Countries across Europe have high rates – though cases are now falling across the European Union, as they also appear to be currently in South America, and North America. Cases are rising rapidly in Asia – including particularly in India (and even the rapid rise is likely to be an undercount – the proportion of tests that are positive is very high and experts agree cases are being missed).

There is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day reached a new high on April 25th – 826,374 – but has been falling since (this partly reflects testing capacity, including in India – where the 7 day average reached 390,000 people testing positive on May 8th, but many cases are likely being missed).

Globally, over 3.25 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning. Our World in Data report the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) is hopefully falling again – to 12,828 on May 7th (before reaching the previous global peak of 14,435 on January 26th). However, in the context of robust evidence that data on the number of people dying in India, to give just one example, undercounts significantly the scale of what is happening, it is likely that the number of people dying daily due to Covid-19 is as high as it has ever been.

In terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths relative to the population, the United Kingdom has a fairly high rate (1,884), but lower than the worst countries – such as Hungary (2,951), Czechia (2,768). The UK rate is higher than that for the European Union as a whole (1,578), and for North America (1,447) and South America (1,629) as a whole – but broadly in line with those continents (and this may reflect differences in testing/attribution). However, there are some countries with lower deaths rates – including Germany (1,012 – a little over half the UK rate), or much lower rates – Finland and Norway have rates 10 times lower than the UK (166 and 141 per million), and Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, and Vietnam have rates that barely register compared to the worst hit areas.

The United Kingdom is doing very well in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (77) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (121 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses), United Arab Emirates (113), and Chile (81). Globally, the rate is 16 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

The chart above covers both first and second doses – but different countries have different strategies (the UK has maximised first doses, while other countries have pursued both first and second doses equally, which slows the first dose rate. Some other countries have used single dose vaccines – as the UK may do eventually). In terms of full vaccination, Israel has the highest proportion fully vaccinated (59%), Chile (37%), Bahrain (34%), and USA (34%) all have higher rates than the UK (26%) – though the UK’s rate is still very high in terms of global comparisons (for example India has just 2.5% of the population fully vaccinated).

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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.

The Government’s loosened restrictions on Monday 12 April:

  • “non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)”

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.

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.


2nd May 2021 data update

At the end of this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, is a summary and link to details of current guidance. The next stage of the government’s roadmap for easing restrictions is due to take place “no earlier than 17 May.”

Key data:

  • Sadly, after two weeks where no-one from Stroud district died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, the deaths of two people have been recorded in the most recent data (to 16th April), bringing the district total to 199. These were two of three people across Gloucestershire to die with or because of Covid-19 (the Gloucestershire total is now 1,183 people). Data from the UK’s statistics agencies shows that 151,243 people living in the UK have died with their “death certificate mentioning COVID-19” as one of the causes – with another 402 people added to this total in the most recent week of data (compared to 422 the week before, and 450 the week before that, a slow but important decline). We send our condolences to all affected. There are two people in Gloucestershire hospitals with Covid-19, and we also wish them well with their recoveries.
  • Rates of the number of people testing positive per 100,000 people are still low in Stroud district and Gloucestershire – indeed among the lowest rates in the UK: 12.5 per 100,000 in Stroud district, and 11 per 100,000 across Gloucestershire. These are both very low rates in national context, or compared to what rates have been. the ZOE app/Kings College London estimate is the lowest it has been at 7 active symptomatic infections for the district.
  • Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast but appear to be stalling – 160 people were admitted on the 27th April, compared to 132 seven days previously – and 4,577 at the peak on 12th January). The total number of people with the virus in UK hospitals was 1,451 on the 29th April, down from 1,781 on the 22nd April (and from a peak of 39,249 on 18th January). The lowest last summer was 803 on the 2nd September, so there is still some way to go. The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds is now 185 (30th April, down from 243 on the 23rd April, having peaked at 4,077 patients on 24th January). The lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August. We send our best for the recovery of all Covid-19 patients in hospital.
  • Gloucestershire NHS has delivered half a million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. around 100% of people aged 65 or over in Stroud district have had a first dose, and around 75% a second dose (compared to 97% and 68% for England). For 45-64 year olds, around 92% have had a first dose, and around 12% a second dose (88% and 16% for England). Far lower proportions of people aged 16-44 have had first / second doses – because other then people who work in health or social care, or are clinically vulnerable – vaccination has not been available to them. Nonetheless, already 25% of people aged 16-44 in Stroud district have received a first dose and 8% a second dose.
  • Across the UK, as of 2nd May nearly 50 million doses have been delivered (49,834,997) and 34,505,380 people have received at least a first dose (65.5% of UK adults have had a first dose and 29.1% have had a second. The proportion of the full population would be lower as there are a large number of people aged under 16 who are not eligible to be vaccinated – at least as yet).
  • While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day reached a new high on April 25th – 826,374 – and has been steady at around that level since (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries, including India – where the 7 day daily average reached 365,000 people testing positive on April 30th).
  • The number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) at the global level is rising again – to 13,431 on April 30th, approaching the global previous peak of 14,435 on January 26th. In the context of robust evidence that data on the number of people dying in India, to give just one example, undercounts significantly the scale of what is happening, it is likely that the number of people dying daily with their death attributed in some way to Covid-19 is as high as it has ever been.
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Across Gloucestershire, 62 people tested positive in the week to the 28th April (down from a total of 84 for last week, and from 64 in the previous week). The number of people testing positive across the county is broadly flat – at a very low level, and could be higher than in August only because of more testing of people without symptoms (it’s hard to tell. Alternatively infections are still spreading among age groups that have not yet been vaccinated). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. The rate per 100,000 people for Gloucestershire is 11 – one of the lowest rates in the UK.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

14 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 28th April (the same number as tested positive in the previous week). There were several days relatively recently where no specimens submitted resulted in positive tests – the most recent on 27th April (prior to that it also happened on the 24th, 14th, 11th, 9th, 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd April. The rate per 100,000 people in Stroud district is for the past 7 days 12.5, again – one of the lowest rates around the UK.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

If we look at the number of PCR tests being done in Stroud district – and the proportion that test positive – we can see that the number of test is broadly falling (as we’d expect if fewer people have symptoms). After a brief uptick in the proportion of tests that are positive, this proportion is down to very low levels again: 0.2% of the 3,115 tests completed in the last 7-day period for which data is available. It was lowest on the 14th April at 0.1% of 2,876 tests in the previous week. At low numbers of total cases it is still hopefully the case that we are identifying more of the small number of people who have the virus as it continues to circulate – hopefully interrupting transmission chains as part of suppression, rather than reaching the point of such low prevalence that the only positive tests are ‘false positives’.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows once again that almost all areas in Stroud district and the surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 27th April (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in many of these places). Only Ebley & Randwick have 3 cases – up 1 from last week indicating there were 2 there that weren’t shown on the map last week. Even this is plausibly one household. As we know 14 people have tested positive across Stroud district, the remaining 11 must be distributed across the different areas of the district, rather than there being an outbreak in one area (7 households of 2 people, or a larger number of households of a mix of 1 and 2 people). The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Kingshold and Wotton in Gloucester where 4 people testing positive gives a rate of 43.7 per 100,000 over the past 7 days – this could represent just one or two or households. That this is the highest rate helps us understand how low prevalence of the virus is across the county.

Source: govt interactive map

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is down to 7 (seven) active symptomatic cases for the district – down by 4 from last week’s 11 by their measure, to what we believe is the lowest ever estimate. It is interesting that this is the first time the estimated number of active symptomatic people is lower than the number of people testing positive for the first time. Usually the ZOE/KCL estimate is higher, because not everyone gets tested. The implication is that the PCR test positive total of 14 includes 7 who tested positive without symptoms or because of a false positive result – or that the ZOE/KCL estimate is too low because they haven’t had the reports of positive tests reported to them. Either way, the ZOE/KCL estimate of a downward trend coupled with the low positivity rate for PCR tests suggests prevalence locally is very low now.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 15,629 people had a symptomtic infection on the 2nd May, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 19,565 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The KCL/ZOE team estimated a 17,391 people had infections on August 25th and we believe that today’s estimate is their lowest number of people with a symptomatic infection. Prof Tim Spector says “Rates still slowly dropping but at a lower rate and importantly no suggestion of upturn after pubs etc opened

Vaccinations

We’ve published five videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins – a GP at Price’s Mill surgery in Nailsworth who is also a Clinical Director for the Severn Health Primary Care Network (PCN) which covers a set of local surgeries linked to the Beeches Green vaccination hub. The two videos below cover Dr Tom Malins comments on side effects, and having his own vaccinations. Please watch/share on Facebook via the link – the other videos are in the comments.

Tom Malins on second doses

The local NHS say they have now delivered over half a million doses (as of Friday 30th April). Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 29th April (the most recent available data) there had been 488,061 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (34,403 doses delivered in the past week of data, up from 27,259 doses in the previous week – and a peak of 82,267 doses in the week to 21st March). Of these, 348,128 are first doses (up 3,770 in the most recent week – more than the previous week’s 3,266) and 139,933 second doses (up 30,633, compared to 23,653 in the previous week). The chart below shows how the rate at which second doses are being delivered is increasing while the number receiving first doses has flattened off. There are 11 weeks between the 18th April on the right and the 7th February – the third week in from the left. More people have received a second dose by 25th April (139,933) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (1313,362) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should (dark blue column is above the red line linking back to the light blue column from 11 weeks ago). The chart also shows how meeting increasing need for 2nd doses in a context of supply issues with AstraZeneca has slowed the delivery of 1st doses for now.

The chart below shows vaccination coverage for the Stroud district, as proportions of the different age bands, compared to other areas. In theory this would show the takeup of vaccination by people, but its only an approximation – as though we know the number of people to have had first doses, we have to calculate this as a percentage of an estimate population of residents of different ages (from the Office for National Statistics 2019 estimate). The estimated number of residents in each age band won’t be quite right for various reasons – some people will have moved into an older age band, some will have moved to the area.
The chart below shows that around 100% of people aged 65 or over in Stroud district have had a first dose, and around 75% a second dose (compared to 97% and 68% for England). For 45-64 year olds, around 92% have had a first dose, and around 12% a second dose (88% and 16% for England – the second dose proportion is likely higher because more second doses were delivered before the shift from doing these at 3 to 12 weeks across the rest of the country. In other words, Stroud district is slightly behind in second doses because it prioritised first doses soon – which is why it is slightly ahead in terms of first doses. Far lower proportions of people aged 16-44 have had first / second doses – because other then people who work in health or social care, or are clinically vulnerable – vaccination has not been available to them. Nonetheless, already 25% of people aged 16-44 have received a first dose and 8% a second dose.

Source: NHS England

People aged 40 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Cainscross Pharmacy/Britannia Dance Studio, Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings“). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

Check out our previous videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

Prices Mill surgery update on 30th April says “can’t offer [vaccinations to people aged 40 plus] locally yet. We are currently needing almost all our supplies for second doses but we will be inviting this group in due course if you do not want to travel.”

Minchinhampton surgery update from 29th April reads: “1st vaccinations completed to date: 5,013 2nd vaccinations completed to date: 2,085 The next vaccination clinics are planned for 4th May at Horsfall House (2nd AstraZeneca vaccinations), 7th and 8th May at Rowcroft Medical Centre (2nd Pfizer vaccinations) and 9th May at Rowcroft Medical Centre (1st & 2nd AstraZeneca vaccinations).”

Rowcroft Medical Centre update on 29th April says “We have now sent text invitations (and attempted telephone contact with patients without mobile phones), for all of you aged 40 and over and all patients, of any age, in Cohort 6. The invitations are from AccuRx which is our booking system and you should use the link in the text to book. If you do not have a smart phone and you receive a text on your mobile please call us and we will make the booking for you….

We are well on our way through our second dose vaccination clinics and are starting to send out invitations for patients who received their first vaccination on February 17th, 18th and 19th. These will have come to you by text and include a link for you to automatically book yourselves into our session on May 8th. We are also in the process of contacting all our patients who do not have a mobile number. Whilst you are waiting for a first dose clinic with us you may receive an invitation from the NHS to book a place at a national mass vaccination site, who do seem to have supplies of first dose vaccine. If you do get an invitation please feel free to accept it as we currently have no real information as to when we will start receiving regular first dose deliveries. As soon as we know we will tell you. If your first dose was before February 17th and you have not yet had your second please call us. Next week we start sending invitations out to patients who received their first vaccination on February 23rd, 24th and 25th – please do not contact us about your second doses yet as we must prioritise patients who received their vaccine first.”

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district – we include updates from Facebook pages when we have them but don’t have them for all surgeries. The above gives a rough indication of where other local surgeries are likely to be with their rollout, however.

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge. GP surgeries are dealing with tens of thousands of vaccinations on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them. We will be interviewing someone next week – comment with a question on this post and we’ll do our best to ask it.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Hospitals – local, national

There were no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally between 18th March and 8th April, ie, for over three weeks. Now there is one, and one other Covid-19 patient in Gloucestershire hospitals – though 9 patients were admitted in the week to 25th April (it is a good sign that most are being discharged). People in hospital now are likely to have been infected a week or more ago, but while rates are low (see below), that there are still patients receiving ventilation is a reminder that the virus has not gone away completely. We wish the two people in hospital the best with their recovery, and hope that there will be no Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals before long.

Source: NHS hospital activity

International context

While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, across the world as a whole numbers are rising and are at their highest ever levels. Countries across Europe have high rates – though cases are now falling across the European Union, as they also appear to be currently in South America, and North America. Cases are rising rapidly in Asia – including particularly in India (and even the rapid rise is likely to be an undercount – the proportion of tests that are positive is very high and experts agree cases are being missed).

There is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day reached a new high on April 25th – 826,374 – and has been steady at around that level since (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries, including India – where the 7 day average reached 365,000 people testing positive on April 30th).

Globally, over 3 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising again – to 13,431 on April 30th, approaching the global previous peak of 14,435 on January 26th. In the context of robust evidence that data on the number of people dying in India, to give just one example, undercounts significantly the scale of what is happening, it is likely that the number of people dying daily with their death attributed in some way to Covid-19 is as high as it has ever been.

For a good summary on what is happening in India, including links to fundraisers for oxygen and other medical supplies, food and other basic needs, see this 30 minute YouTube video from Cardiologist Dr Rohin Francis.

The United Kingdom is doing very well in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (73) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (121 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (107), and Chile (78). Globally, the rate is 15 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

The chart above covers both first and second doses – but different countries have different strategies (the UK has maximised first doses, while other countries have pursued both first and second doses equally, which slows the first dose rate. Some other countries have used single dose vaccines – as the UK may do eventually). In terms of full vaccination, Israel has the highest proportion fully vaccinated (59%), Chile (35%), Bahrain (32%), and USA (31%) all have higher rates than the UK (22%) – though the UK’s rate is still very high in terms of global comparisons (for example India has just 2% of the population fully vaccinated).

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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.

The Government’s loosened restrictions on Monday 12 April:

  • “non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)”

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.

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.


25th April 2021 data update

At the end of this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, is a summary and link to details of current guidance. The next stage of the government’s roadmap for easing restrictions is due to take place “no earlier than 17 May.”

Key data:

  • Today, “the ZOE app recorded the lowest level of new cases since the pandemic began last March when we started our survey” (897 people). This is just one estimate of prevalence – based on a self-selected sample of people reporting symptoms, but is is very encouraging (even if if it is not entirely in line with other data sources – which suggest case numbers are falling more slowly – with 1,434 specimins submitted on 23rd April testing positive across the UK).
  • Higher numbers of people have tested positive in both Stroud district and Gloucestershire in the most recent week compared to the week before (14 in Stroud district, out of 79 across Gloucestershire). However, the estimate of the number of people with an active symptomatic infection from the ZOE/Kings College London app for Stroud district has falled by 11 (to 14).
  • Rates per 100,000 people are still low in Stroud district and Gloucestershire – indeed among the lowest rates in the UK: 9.2 per 100,000 in Stroud district 33rd lowest out of 348 ‘lower tier’ local authorities (i.e. districts), and 11.9 per 100,000 across Gloucestershire – 19th lowest of 182 ‘upper tier’ local authorities – i.e., counties).
  • There have been two weeks where no-one from Stroud district has died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the most recent data (to 9th April), but sadly in that week one person from Gloucestershire did die with or because of Covid-19 (the Gloucestershire total is now 1,180 people). Data from the UK’s statistics agencies shows that 150,841 people living in the UK have died with their “death certificate mentioning COVID-19” as one of the causes. We send our condolences to all affected.
  • Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 132 people were admitted on the 20th April, compared to 194 seven days previously – and 4,577 at the peak on 12th January). The total number of people with the virus in UK hospitals is 1,781 (22nd April), down from 2,872 on the 8th April (and from a peak of 39,249 on 18th January). The lowest last summer was 803 on the 2nd September, so there is still some way to go. The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds is now 243 (down from 332 on the 16th April, having peaked at 4,077 patients on 24th January). The lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August. We send our best for the recovery of all Covid-19 patients in hospital.
  • Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that there have been 456,924 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (27,259 doses delivered in the past week of data, compared to 17,750 doses delivered in the previous week – and a peak of 82,267 doses in the week to 21st March). Of these, 344,358 are first doses (up 3,266 in the most recent week) and 109,300 second doses (up 23,653).
  • Across the UK, as of 25th April, 46,253,754 doses have been delivered and 33,666,638 people have received at least a first dose.
  • While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, across the world as a whole numbers are rising and are at their highest ever levels. The 7-day average number of people testing positive per day on April 23rd – 815,565 – is the highest daily number yet (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries).
  • The number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising again – to 12,485 on April 23rd, up from 10,243 on March 31st (and in the context of robust evidence that data on the number of people dying in India, to give just one example, undercounts significantly the scale of what is happening)
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Across Gloucestershire, 79 people tested positive in the week to the 21st April (up from 64 in the previous week, and 50 in the week before that). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. These increases are slow – and could be related to wider access to testing – but also may be a function of loosening of restrictions and the start of a trend. The rate per 100,000 people for Gloucestershire is 11.9. It remains one of the lowest rates in the UK (19th of 182 ‘upper tier’ local authorities – i.e., counties).

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

14 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 21st April (up from 9 in the previous week). The positivity rate – the proportion of PCR tests that return positive results is still very low at 0.2% of the 2,826 tests completed in the last 7-day period for which data is available – but has fluctuated a little lately. It was lowest on the 14th April at 0.1% of 2,876 tests in the previous week. There were several days relatively recently where no specimens submitted resulted in positive tests – but this hasn’t happened since the 14th April (prior to that it also happened on the 11th, 9th, 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd April. The rate per 100,000 people in Stroud district is for the past 7 days 9.2, and this is still one of the lowest rates around the UK (33rd out of 348 ‘lower tier’ local authorities).

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

If we look at the number of PCR tests being done in Stroud district – and the proportion that test positive – we can see that the number of test is broadly falling (as we’d expect if fewer people have symptoms), but that in the past week there has been a small uptick in the proportion of tests that are positive. It’s too early to read much into this – it could be that use of Lateral Flow Devices means fewer people are getting PCR tests, but that when they do in some cases this will have been preceded by an LFD test that is positive which means the PCR tests will be slightly more likely to return positive results. At low numbers of total cases it is still hopefully more the case that we are identifying more of the small number of people who have the virus as it continues to circulate – hopefully interrupting transmission chains as part of suppression, rather than seeing a rise in the number of infections and spread.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows – for the second week – all of the Stroud district – and the vast majority of the surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 20th April (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in many of these places). As we know 14 people have tested positive across Stroud district, we can assume these are distribted across the different areas of the district, rather than there being an outbreak in one area (7 households of 2 people, or a larger number of households of a mix of 1 and 2 people). The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Podsmead and Linden in Gloucester where 7 people testing positive gives a rate of 78.5 per 100,000 over the past 7 days – this could represent just two or three households.

Source: govt interactive map

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 14 active symptomatic cases for the district – down 11 from last week by their measure. It is interesting that this is the first time the estimated number of active symptomatic people and the number of people testing positive for the first time in the past week is the same – usually the ZOE/KCL estimate is higher, because – as above – not everyone gets tested. It’s possible these are the same 14 people, but it’s also possibly the case that PCR tests include some people without symptoms (either because they are about to get symptoms, had the virus some time ago and never had symptoms – being no longer infectious but having enough virus to test positive, or because the test result is a ‘false positive’ and they don’t really have the virus). Either way, the ZOE/KCL estimate of a downward trend coupled with the low positivity rate for PCR tests suggests there isn’t too much to worry about even though the number of PCR positives per week has increased for two weeks running.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 19,565 people had a symptomtic infection on the 25th April, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 27,499 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The KCL/ZOE team estimated a similar number of people with symptomatic infections on the 31th August 2020 – 19,440. Today, “the ZOE app recorded the lowest level of new cases since the pandemic began last March when we started our survey” (897 people). These estimates tend to be in-line with and often show trends in advance of other prevalence estimates – see comparison with the random-sampling done by the ONS and the REACT studies (Imperial College/Ipsos MORI).

Vaccinations

We’ve published two more videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins – a GP at Price’s Mill surgery in Nailsworth who is also a Clinical Director for the Severn Health Primary Care Network (PCN) which covers a set of local surgeries linked to the Beeches Green vaccination hub. The first video covers current work, with a focus on people who are waiting to receive their second doses, and the second video focuses on the process for people yet to receive a first dose. While the information applies to people at the surgeries in the Severn Health PCN, it is of interest and broad relevance to everyone in the district.

Please watch/share on Facebook via the link above.

Tom Malins on second doses
Tom Malins on first doses

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 11th April (the most recent available data) there have been 456,924 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (27,259 doses delivered in the past week of data, compared to 17,750 doses delivered in the previous week – and a peak of 82,267 doses in the week to 21st March). Of these, 344,358 are first doses (up 3,266 in the most recent week) and 109,300 second doses (up 23,653). The chart below shows how the rate at which second doses are being delivered is increasing while the number receiving first doses has flattened off. There are 11 weeks between the 18th April on the right and the 31st January – the third week in from the left. More people have received a second dose by 18th April (109,300) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (100,000) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should. The chart also shows how meeting increasing need for 2nd doses in a context of supply issues with AstraZeneca has slowed the delivery of 1st doses for now.

The chart below shows vaccination coverage for the Stroud district, as proportions of the different age bands. In theory this would show the takeup of vaccination by people, but its only an approximation – as though we know the number of people to have had first doses, we have to calculate this as a percentage of an estimate population of residents of different ages (from the Office for National Statistics 2019 estimate). The estimated number of residents in each age band won’t be quite right for various reasons – some people will have moved into an older age band, some will have moved to the area. In reality, “close to 100%” of all people aged 50 or over in Stroud district have now had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Together they – and the 6,790 people aged 45-59 and 8,932 people aged under 45 who have already had a first dose (vaccinations are currently still being offered to people aged 40-49) – account for around 70% of the population locally aged over 16 (and around 58% of all residents of the district).

Source: NHS England

People aged 45 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

Check out our previous videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

Prices Mill surgery update on 19th April says “21% of our registered adult population have now received two dose of vaccine (31% of Cohorts 1-9). Only a handful more patients received there first dose last week as we haven’t received the central supplies to be able to do more. Over 45s can now book to receive their first dose via the regional centres.We are forging on with second doses and will be in touch to invite you to make that booking within 12 weeks of your first. If you are over 50 and are yet to receive your first dose, please call the surgery and arrange your appointment: the next two Saturdays are already booking up!”

Minchinhampton surgery update from 23rd April reads: “Vaccination update for Minchinhampton patients:1st vaccinations to date: 49142nd vaccinations to date: 1714. The next vaccination clinics are planned for 24th & 25th April at Rowcroft Medical Centre (2nd AstraZeneca vaccinations) and 27th April at Horsfall House (1st & 2nd AstraZeneca Vaccinations).If you had a 1st AstraZeneca vaccination on or before 13th February please contact the Surgery to book in for your 2nd.”

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district – we include updates from Facebook pages when we have them but don’t have them for all surgeries. The above gives a rough indication of where other local surgeries are likely to be with their rollout, however.

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge. Across the UK, as of 25th April, 46,253,754 doses have been delivered and 33,666,638 people have received at least a first dose. In the time scale, this is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them. We will be interviewing someone next week – comment with a question on this post and we’ll do our best to ask it.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Hospitals – local, national

There were no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally between 18th March and 8th April, ie, for over three weeks. Now there is one, and one other Covid-19 patient in Gloucestershire hospitals – though 10 patients were admitted in the week to 18th April (it is a good sign that most are being discharged). People in hospital now are likely to have been infected a week or more ago, but while rates are low (see below), that there are still patients receiving ventilation is a reminder that the virus has not gone away completely. We wish the two people in hospital the best with their recovery, and hope that there will be no Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals before long.

Source: NHS hospital activity

People who have died with Covid-19

In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 9th April – shows that 1,180 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (one person died with their death registered in the week ending 9th April). 197 of these people were from the Stroud district (no-one from Stroud district has died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate for the last two weeks of registrations). We send our condolences to all affected.

The data is from registrations of death up to the 9th April. It is possible there will be a few further deaths, but barring dramatic mutations of the virus, and failures of policy, we should never see the weekly numbers we have seen recently again.

Data from the UK’s statistics agencies shows that 150,841 people living in the UK have died with their “death certificate mentioning COVID-19” as one of the causes. In upwards of 75% of cases, Covid-19 is the “underlying cause” – the main reason someone died.

“The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 9 April 2021 was 10,397, which was 1,301 fewer than the five-year average; of deaths registered in the UK in Week 14, 422 involved COVID-19 (28 lower than in Week 13)… Of the deaths registered in Week 14 in England and Wales, 379 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, a decrease of 21 deaths compared with Week 13… Of the 379 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 14 in England and Wales, 280 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (73.9%).”

Office for National Statistics

The data are published weekly by the ONS, NRS and NISRA and there is a lag in reporting of at least 11 days because the data are based on death registrations” (data is to the 9th April). The chart below is from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates, covering England and Wales only, but shows how the number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned as one of the causes relate to other deaths since January 2020, and push the number of people dying in some weeks well over the 5 year average. The ONS say:

“Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 9 April 2021 was 688,950 in England and Wales. Of the deaths registered by 9 April 2021, 138,476 (20.1%) mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. During this period, the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 115,608 deaths.”

We have previously included data comparing the death rate in Stroud district with other areas, incuding those that have seen more than twice as many people die compared to their local population.

The Independent SAGE weekly briefing this week includes a data presentation from Kit Yates (after a question this time rather than right at the start – due to technical difficulties) – which includes some international data on India and other countries, and is followed by a Q&A with media and public.

International context

Globally, over 3 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising again – to 12,485 on April 23rd, up from 10,243 on March 31st (and in the context of robust evidence that data on the number of people dying in India, to give just one example, undercounts significantly the scale of what is happening). This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the 7-day average number of people testing positive per day on April 23rd – 815,565 – is the highest daily number yet (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries).

While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, across the world as a whole numbers are rising and are at their highest ever levels. Countries across Europe have high rates – though cases are now falling across the European Union, as they also appear to be currently in South America, and North America. Cases are rising rapidly in Asia – including particularly in India (and even the rapid rise is likely to be an undercount – the proportion of tests that are positive is very high and experts agree cases are being missed).

The United Kingdom is doing very well in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (67) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (120 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (103), and Chile (74). Globally, the rate is 13 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

The chart above covers both first and second doses – but different countries have different strategies (the UK has maximised first doses, while other countries have pursued both first and second doses equally, which slows the first dose rate. Some other countries have used single dose vaccines – as the UK may do eventually). In terms of full vaccination, Israel has the highest proportion fully vaccinated (58%), Chile (32%), Bahrain (30%), USA (28%) and Serbia (19%) all have higher rates than the UK (18%) – though the UK’s rate is still very high in terms of global comparisons (for example India has just 1.6% of the population fully vaccinated).

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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.

The Government’s loosened restrictions on Monday 12 April:

  • “non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)”

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. I 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.

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.


18th April 2021 data update

Before this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, a reminder of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap for ending restrictions, taken from gov.uk began on Monday 12 April:

  • “non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)”

“You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England. You can also read the law that underpins these changes and the ongoing restrictions.” (further re-opening is scheduled for “no earlier than 17 May.”)

Key data:

  • For the first week since that ending on the 23rd October, there were no death certificates where Covid-19 was mentioned as a cause of death in Gloucestershire in the most recent week of data (to 2nd April). Hopefully, with low rates of infection, high rates of vaccination, and vaccines which appear to be highly effective against serious illness/death, we will see very few additional local deaths – if any. The total for the county is 1,179 people, 197 of whom were from the Stroud district.
  • Alongside the encouraging local news, across the UK the country has sadly passed another grim milestone: 150,419 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of 2nd April. This includes 450 people added to the total in the most recent week. The number of people dying each week with Covid or because of it is falling (799 in the previous week).
  • In addition, locally there are 2 patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds in Gloucestershire hospitals with Covid-19 as of the 13th April (the most recent date data is available). From 18th March – 8th April there were no Covid-19 patients in these beds – which are for the sickest Covid patients. Including these two patients, there are 3 Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals – up from 1 last week. People in hospital now are likely to have been infected a week or more ago, but while rates are low (see below), that there are still patients receiving ventilation is a reminder that the virus has not gone away completely.
  • 9 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 14th April (up from 5 in the previous week). It’s to early to say there is a rising trend – it’s possible the 9 people are contacts, if not household members, of the 5 from last week. Alternatively, these could be people without symptoms picked up through the new offer of Lateral Flow Device testing (the positivity rate for PCR testing is very low at 0.2%). The ZOE/Kings College London app estimates that there are a total of 33 people with active sympomatic infections across the district (they describe this as being down 14 from the previous week). Together, that hopefully means the uptick in confirmed cases is more to do with identifying more of the people who have the virus rather than with more people being infected.
  • Across Gloucestershire, 59 people tested positive in the week to the 14th April (up from 50 in the previous week). The rate per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire is 10.5 – making it the 28th lowest rate for equivalent local authorities in the UK. Again, the nuance above applies – positive test numbers are very low and together with newly expanded testing it’s difficult to know whether there is a rising trend.
  • Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that – as of 11th April, the latest publicly available data – 70% of the Stroud district population aged 16+ has had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (or 57% of the total population).
  • Across Gloucestershire, more people have received a second dose by 11th April (85,647) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (77,817) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should. 65% of those aged 16+ have had a first dose (54% of the total population) and 16% have had a second dose (13% of the total population).
  • Globally, the situation is still very bad. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the number of people testing positive across the world on April 17th – 766,230 – is the highest daily number yet (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries).The number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising again – to 11,890 on April 10th, up from 10,243 on March 31st (though there is a small sign this may be dipping down again).
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Across Gloucestershire, 59 people tested positive in the week to the 14th April (up from 50 in the previous week). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. Across Gloucestershire, a total of 22,351 people have now tested positive across the whole pandemic (3.5% of the population or 1 in every 29 people), though the true number and proportion of people to have had the virus will be higher as not everyone has been tested.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

9 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 14th April (up from 5 in the previous week). However, the positivity rate – the proportion of PCR tests that return positive results – has fallen. Just 0.2% of the 2,908 tests completed in the last 7-day period for which data is available tested positive (compared with 0.2% of the 2,243 tests completed in the week to 16th September). There have been several days recently where no specimens submitted resulted in positive tests: 14th, 11th, 9th, 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd April (we can assume all results should have been returned by now for those dates). The rate per 100,000 people in Stroud district is for the past 7 days 9.2. A total of 3,733 people from Stroud district have tested positive during the whole pandemic (3.1%, or 1 in every 32 people). Again the true number and proportion of people to have had the virus will be higher as not everyone has been tested.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

A portion of positive tests will come from Lateral Flow Device testing associated with schools or people without symptoms – we are hopefully catching more people without symptoms who are positive and this should help break transmission chains. In order to be sure that this higher number of tests aren’t altering our understanding of what’s happening, one thing we can do is look at the proportion of PCR tests (for people with symptoms) are positive: this is falling. People who test positive with an LFD get a confirmatory PCR test. The most recent data for Gloucestershire has 0.4% of people who undertook a PCR test testing positive – up from 0.3% a week ago, but down from 0.6% a week before that, and 11.9% at the peak. The tiny uptick isn’t concerning yet – proportions are still very low and could represent a ‘floor’ – the lowest the rate will go given there will always be some false positives, or we may see even lower prevalence of the virus and fewer positive tests now that large portions of the population have been vaccinated (and given a slower reopening from lockdown that reduces the risks of transmission).

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows all of the Stroud district – and the vast majority of the surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 13th April (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in many of these places). As we know 9 people have tested positive across Stroud district, we can assume these are distribted across the different areas of the district, rather than there being an outbreak in one area. The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Pittville & Fairview in Cheltenham where 5 people testing positive gives a rate of 52.9 per 100,000 over the past 7 days – this could represent just one or two households.

Source: govt interactive map

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to get more data on your local area.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 60 active cases for the district – down 20 from last week by their measure. Please continue to take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate – we still want to get the infections lower than they are now.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 27,499 people had a symptomtic infection on the 18th April, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 39,040 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The KCL/ZOE team estimated a similar number of people with symptomatic infections on the 7th September 2020 – 27,226.

Vaccinations

This week we published two videos of clips from an interview with Dr Tom Malins – a GP at Price’s Mill surgery in Nailsworth who is also a Clinical Director for the Severn Health Primary Care Network (PCN) which covers a set of local surgeries linked to the Beeches Green vaccination hub. The first video covers current work, with a focus on people who are waiting to receive their second doses, and the second video focuses on the process for people yet to receive a first dose. While the information applies to people at the surgeries in the Severn Health PCN, it is of interest and broad relevance to everyone in the district.

Please watch/share on Facebook via the link above.

Tom Malins on second doses
Tom Malins on first doses

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 11th April (the most recent available data) there have been 426,739 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (19,682 doses delivered in the past week of data, compared to 21,165 doses delivered in the previous week). Of these, 241,092 are first doses (up 2,926 in the most recent week) and 68,891 second doses (up 16,756). The chart below shows how the rate at which second doses are being delivered is increasing while the number receiving first doses has flattened off. There are 11 weeks between the first bars on the left and the last bars on the right. More people have received a second dose by 4th April (68,891) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (62,140) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should. The chart also shows how the delivery of 2nd doses increasing and the supply issues with AstraZeneca have slowed the delivery of 1st doses for now.

The chart below shows vaccination coverage for the Stroud district, Gloucestershire, South West and England – as proportions of the “rollout population” (those eligible to be offered vaccinations – ie, those aged over 16), and of the total population (from the Office for National Statistics 2019 estimate).

Source: NHS England
  • The chart shows
  • 70% of the population aged 16 or over across Stroud district (57% of the total population).
  • For Gloucestershire 65% of the rollout population have had a first dose (54% total population) and 16% a second dose (13% total pop)
  • For the South West: 64% (53%) a first dose, and 15% a second dose (12%)
  • For England: 59% a first dose (48%) and 14% a second dose (11%)
  • In addition – not shown on the chart, every part of the Stroud district (“MSOA” level) has seen enough first doses given to cover 61% or more of the population aged 16+ (ie, those included in the current vaccination programme) – a minimum of 50% of the population (Dursley has the lowest rate). Rates are highest as a percentage of estimated residents in Painswick, Bisley and Eastcombe (78%), Minchinhampton & Amberley (77%), and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (77%). These rates are higher because a higher proportion of the population is in eligible categories (ie, aged 50 or over, working in health or social care, or clinically vulnerable) – not just because of takeup.

People aged 45 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

Check out our previous videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

Prices Mill surgery update on 12th April says “Because of the focus on second doses currently, the number of adult first doses is only creeping up very slowly – 67% as of today. 17% of our adult population have, however, now received two doses! Still 201 patients have yet to decline or arrange a vaccination in Cohort 1-9, please get in touch if this is you.”

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district.

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge – nearly 27 million people being vaccinated in 4 months is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them. We will be interviewing someone next week – comment with a question on this post and we’ll do our best to ask it.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Hospitals – local, national

There were no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally between 18th March and 8th April, ie, for over three weeks. Now there are two, and including these patients, there are 3 Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals – up from 1 last week. People in hospital now are likely to have been infected a week or more ago, but while rates are low (see below), that there are still patients receiving ventilation is a reminder that the virus has not gone away completely.

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 179 people were admitted on the 13th April, compared to 222 seven days previously – and 4,577 at the peak on 12th January).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospitals remains 2,186 on the 15th April, down from 2,872 on the 8th April (and down to less than a twelth of the peak of 39,249 on 18th January). The lowest last summer was 803 on the 2nd September, so there is still some way to go.

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also now lower than in the Spring 2020 peak – having peaked at 4,077 patients (on 24th January). There are still 332 patients in these beds as of the 16th April (the lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August). We send our best for their recovery.

People who have died with Covid-19

In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 26th March – shows that 1,179 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (no-one was added to the total in the most recent week of data, for the first time since October). 197 of these people were from the Stroud district (one more person since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.

The data is from registrations of death up to the 2nd April. With a few people on Mechanical Ventilation beds it is possible there will be a few further deaths, but barring dramatic mutations of the virus, and failures of policy, we should never see the weekly numbers we have seen recently again.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Gloucestershire deaths

While that is encouraging news locally, nationally we hit a grim milestone this week, as data from the UK’s statistics agencies showed that over 150,000 people living in the UK have died with their “death certificate mentioning COVID-19 as one of the causes.*

The data are published weekly by the ONS, NRS and NISRA and there is a lag in reporting of at least 11 days because the data are based on death registrations” (data is to the 2nd April). The first chart below shows how these deaths have been registered week-by-week across the UK – see the government’s data website for more information. The second chart below is from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates, covering England and Wales only, but shows how the number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned as one of the causes relate to other deaths since January 2020, and push the number of people dying in some weeks well over the 5 year average. The ONS say:

“Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 2 April 2021 was 679,851 in England and Wales. Of the deaths registered by 2 April 2021, 138,057 (20.3%) mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. During this period, the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 116,814 deaths.”

In the vast majority of cases where COVID-19 is listed on a death certificate, it is listed as the “underlying cause of death” (for example, in the most recent week, the ONS report “Of the 400 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 13 in England and Wales, 308 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (77.0%).” There are people who die “with” COVID but because of something else – but this does not explain the high numbers of deaths, and certainly not how much higher the number of people dying is than an average year

We have previously included data comparing the death rate in Stroud district with other areas, incuding those that have seen more than twice as many people die compared to their local population.

The Independent SAGE weekly briefing this week does not include a data presentation, and instead focuses on the global vaccination rollout. There are still the usual questions and answers from the media and public, and it is very much worth watching.

International context

Globally, over 3 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising again – to 11,890 on April 10th, up from 10,243 on March 31st (though there is a small sign this may be dipping down again). This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over – the number of people testing positive on April 17th – 766,230 – is the highest daily number yet (this partly reflects increased testing but mostly is a function of the fact that the virus is rampant in many countries).

While the number of people testing positive in the UK is reaching very low levels, in other parts of the world – and indeed across the world as a whole – numbers are rising. Countries across Europe – including most notably Cyprus, Turkey, Sweden, France, Croatia and Hungary – have high rates or rates of increase. Meanwhile, cases are increasing very fast in India – and while the population of that country is so large the rate per million people is not as high as in Europe, the numbers of people are very high: over 200,000 tested positive on April 17th.

The United Kingdom is doing very well in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (62) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (119 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (97), and Chile (68). Globally, the rate is 11 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

The chart above covers both first and second doses – but different countries have different strategies (the UK has maximised first doses, while other countries have pursued both first and second doses equally, which slows the first dose rate. Other countries have used single dose vaccines – as the UK may do eventually). In terms of full vaccination, Israel has the highest proportion fully vaccinated (57%), Chile (28%), Bahrain (27%), USA (25%) and Serbia (18%) all have higher rates than the UK (14%) – though the UK’s rate is still very high in terms of global comparisons.

The effectiveness of vaccines is shown, for example by this chart from John Burn-Murdoch – revealing how the share of cases in the UK made up by different age groups has fallen as that age group has been able to access vaccination.

From a twitter thread on “on the contest between vaccines & variants”

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. from 9th April, twice weekly rapid tests will be 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. 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. I 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.

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.

Local testing:

The County Council have updated their information about how you can book a test locally. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not, and where you can pick up testing kits for households with school-aged children.

  • For people with symptoms, there are permanent testing units at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park.
  • Without symptoms, there is a site in Gloucester City and one located at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. A third site will be opening in the Forest of Dean on the 10th March.
  • You can pick up a testing kit from the permanent testing units at: Hempsted Meadows, Gloucester; High St Car Park, Cheltenham; and Stratford Park, Stroud.

See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.


11th April 2021 data update

Before this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, a reminder of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap for ending restrictions, taken from gov.uk begins on Monday 12 April:

  • “non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)”

“You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England. You can also read the law that underpins these changes and the ongoing restrictions.” (further re-opening is scheduled for “no earlier than 17 May.”)

Key data:

  • There is only 1 patient in a hospital in Gloucestershire with Covid-19 as of the 6th April (the most recent date data is available), down from 5 the week before (having peaked at 262 on the 6th January). There haven’t been fewer people with Covid-19 in local hospitals since 23rd September when there were 4. There have been no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally since 17th March, ie, for over three weeks.
  • 5 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 7th April (down from 20 in the previous week). There have been several days recently where no specimens submitted tebmitted resulted in positive tests: 2nd, 4th, and 6th April (we can assume all results should have been returned by now for those dates). The ZOE/Kings College London app estimates that there are a total of 60 people with active sympomatic infections across the district (but this is down 20 from the previous week, and – as with the numbers receiving positive PCR tests is back to levels of September)
  • Across Gloucestershire, 49 people tested positive in the week to the 7th April (down from 91 in the previous week). This is the lowest number of people to test positive in a week in the county since week-ending 26th August 2020 (when 35 people tested positive). The rate per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire is 8 – making it the 12th lowest rate for equivalent local authorities in the UK, and the 3rd lowest in England (after Devon and Southwark).
  • Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that – as of 4th April, the latest publicly available data – 69% of the Stroud district population aged 16+ has had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (68,276). This is only 727 higher than the previous week (67,549 people), whereas weekly vaccinations were running at between 3 and 5,000 in previous weeks. This is in-line with our expectation that first doses would slow because of a combination of supply-issues, and the need to switch to getting people who had their first dose 10-12 weeks ago their second doses (though data on second doses isn’t available for Stroud district, it is for Gloucestershire – see below).
  • Across Gloucestershire, more people have received a second dose by 4th April (68,891) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (62,140) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should. 65% have had a first dose and 13% of people have had a second dose. Across the South West, 64% have had a first dose and 10% a second, and across England over 26.5 million people have recevied a first dose of vaccine (58% of the population aged 16+, and 10% a second dose)
  • In Gloucestershire – 2 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the most recent week for which data is available (to 26th March), bringing the total for the county to 1,179 people. 197 of these people were from the Stroud district (one of the two people across Gloucestershire to die was from the district). We send our condolences to all affected.
  • Across the UK 149,968 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, as of 26th March, this includes 799 people added to the total in the most recent week. However, the number of people dying each week with Covid or because of it is falling, and “the number of deaths registered in England and Wales was 5.0% below the five-year average (528 fewer deaths); this is the third consecutive week that deaths have been below the five-year average.” (ONS)
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Across Gloucestershire, 49 people tested positive in the week to the 7th April (down from 91 in the previous week). This is the lowest number of people to test positive in a week in the county since week-ending 26th August 2020 (when 35 people tested positive). The rate per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire is 8 – making it the 12th lowest rate for equivalent local authorities in the UK, and the 3rd lowest in England (after Devon and Southwark). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. Across Gloucestershire, a total of 22,281 people have now tested positive.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

5 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 7th April (down from 20 in the previous week). This is the lowest number of people to test positive in a week since the week ending 16th September 2020 – and despite more people being tested now than in September. Just 0.3% of the 2,679 tests completed in the last 7-day period for which data is available tested positive (compared 0.2% of the 2,243 tests completed in the week to 16th September). There have been several days recently where no specimens submitted tebmitted resulted in positive tests: 2nd, 4th, and 6th April (we can assume all results should have been returned by now for those dates). The rate per 100,000 people in Stroud is for the past 7 days 5, the 13th lowest rate for all equivalent local authorities across the UK, behind only Forest of Dean at 4.6 across Gloucestershire.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

A portion of positive tests will come from Lateral Flow Device testing associated with schools or people without symptoms – we are hopefully catching more people without symptoms who are positive and this should help break transmission chains. In order to be sure that this higher number of tests aren’t altering our understanding of what’s happening, one thing we can do is look at the proportion of PCR tests (for people with symptoms) are positive: this is falling. There is some complexity around whether people who test positive with an LFD get a confirmatory PCR test, but that shouldn’t affect the numbers too much. The most recent data for Gloucestershire has 0.3% of people who undertook a PCR test testing positive – down from 0.5% a week ago, 0.6% a week before that, and 11.9% at the peak. The rate (which covers the previous 7 days) was last this low on the 16th August – and has only been lower for a week in July 2020 (it was 0.2% from 13th-18th). This could represent a ‘floor’ – the lowest the rate will go given there will always be some false positives, or we may see even lower prevalence of the virus and fewer positive tests now that large portions of the population have been vaccinated (and given a slower reopening from lockdown that reduces the risks of transmission).

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows much of the district – and surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 6th April (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in these places). See below for trends by areas of the district (“MSOAs” – “Middle Layer Super Output Areas – a statistical geography). The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Churchdown & Innsworth where the rate is 52.9 per 100,000 over the past 7 days – this comes from 7 cases, up by 3 from the previous week, and could represent just two households. In Stroud district, the 5 positive tests across Stroud district are presumably spread across multiple areas, as no single MSOA area has more than 2 cases.

Source: govt interactive map

Below are the charts for trends – you can see how cases are below 2 (and plausibly zero) in most of the district – up to the 4th April. You can see how the number of people testing positive has dropped everywhere.

Source: gov.uk data download – MSOA API

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to see this data as a map.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 60 active cases for the district – down 20 from last week by their measure. Please continue to take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate – we still want to get the infections lower than they are now.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 39,040 people had a symptomtic infection on the 11th April, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 53,400 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The KCL/ZOE team estimated a similar number of people with symptomatic infections on the 12th September 2020 – 38,900.

Vaccinations

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 7th March (the most recent available data) there have been 407,057 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (21,165 doses delivered in the past week of data, compared to 51,433 doses delivered in the previous week). Of these, 338,166 are first doses and 68,891 second doses. Based on the 2019 population estimate for the area, these have covered approximately:

  • 69% of the population aged 16 or over across Stroud district. Every part of the district (“MSOA” level as above) has seen enough first doses given to cover 61% or more of the population aged 16+ (ie, those included in the current vaccination programme). Rates are highest as a percentage of estimated residents in Painswick, Bisley and Eastcombe (78%), Minchinhampton & Amberley (77%), and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (77%). These rates are higher because a higher proportion of the population is in eligible categories (ie, aged 50 or over, working in health or social care, or clinically vulnerable).
  • 65% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose, 13% have had a second dose.
  • This compares to 64% and 10% for the South West as a whole.
  • And across England, 58% of the population aged 16+ have had a first dose and 10% a second dose.
  • The chart below shows how the rate at which second doses are being delivered is increasing while the number receiving first doses has flattened off. There are 11 weeks between the first bars on the left and the last bars on the right. More people have received a second dose by 4th April (68,891) than had received a first dose 11 weeks ago (62,140) – indicating that overall people are receiving their second doses before the 12 week deadline, just as they should.

The chart above shows how the proportion of the population of Stroud district aged over 16 has increased over the past few weeks.

People aged 50 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

If you are aged over 50 or over, or believe you are Clinically Vulnerable or a carer for someone who is, you can book via the link above, but if you can’t get to one of the mass vaccination sites (Gloucester is the nearest but is often fully booked and the other sites are in Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) please get in touch with your surgery by email to check you have not been missed.

Check out our videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

Prices Mill surgery update on 6th April says they have “now given a first dose of vaccine to 92% of our patient Cohort 1-9 including Clinically Vulnerable patients aged 16 or over (that’s 66%, or two thirds of our total registered adult population). We have also given the second dose to 12% of our total registered adult population.Despite multiple attempts and methods at contacting patients from Cohort 1-9, we are unfortunately still to hear from 266 individuals. Please contact the surgery if you are 50+ and yet to book an appointment for your first dose. Alternatively, please let us know of your intention to decline, bearing in mind you will always remain eligible if you change your mind. Thank you.”

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district.

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge – over 25 million people being vaccinated in 4 months is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them. We will be interviewing someone next week – comment with a question on this post and we’ll do our best to ask it.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Hospitals – local, national

There is only 1 patient in a hospital in Gloucestershire with Covid-19 as of the 6th April (the most recent date data is available), down from 5 the week before (having peaked at 262 on the 6th January). There haven’t been fewer people with Covid-19 in local hospitals since 23rd September when there were 4. There have been no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally since 17th March, ie, for over three weeks.

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 221 people were admitted on the 6th April, compared to 257 seven days previously).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospitals remains 2,862 on the 6th April, similar to the 2,801 on the 4th July last year (down to less than a tenth of the peak of 39,249 on 18th January). The lowest last summer was 803 on the 2nd September, so there is still some way to go.

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also now lower than in the Spring 2020 peak – having peaked at 4,077 patients (on 24th January). There are still 406 patients in these beds as of the 1st April (the lowest last summer was 60 on 28th August). We send our best for their recovery.

People who have died with Covid-19

In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 26th March – shows that 1,179 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (2 people have been added to the total in the most recent week of data). 197 of these people were from the Stroud district (one more person since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.

The data is from registrations of death up to the 26th March, and sadly we know it will continue to rise. Barring dramatic mutations/failures of policy, however, we should never see the weekly numbers we have seen recently again.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Gloucestershire deaths

We have previously included data comparing the death rate in Stroud district with other areas, incuding those that have seen more than twice as many people die compared to their local population.

The above data is the best we get on people who have died – from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates. This data takes time to come in – so the below is only up to the 26th March. It is sobering reading – but the number of deaths continues to fall:

  • “The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 26 March 2021 (Week 12) was 10,045; this was 266 fewer deaths than the previous week (Week 11).”
  • “In Week 12, the number of deaths registered in England and Wales was 5.0% below the five-year average (528 fewer deaths); this is the third consecutive week that deaths have been below the five-year average.”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 12 in England and Wales, 719 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, a decrease of 244 deaths compared with Week 11.”
  • “In Week 12, deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 7.2% of all deaths in England and Wales, compared with 9.3% in Week 11.”
  • “Of the 719 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 12 in England and Wales, 535 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (74.4%).”
  • “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 26 March 2021 was 671,655 in England and Wales. Of the deaths registered by 26 March 2021, 137,622 (20.5%) mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. During this period, the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 118,748 deaths.”

The Independent SAGE weekly briefing is really worth watching this week. There’s some really good questions and answers on the Astra Zeneca vaccine, what the panel think of vaccine passports, and foreign holidays this year, as well as the usual data summary presentation for the UK from Professor Christina Pagel covering testing, positive test results, hospitals, deaths and vaccinations (and discussion of the impact of opening schools up more recently) – an extended one ahead of this becoming a fortnightly rather than weekly presentation. There are a long watch, but if you’ve not taken the time to watch one before, this would be a good place to start.

International context

Globally, over 2.77 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – but there is a sign that the number of people dying may be starting to fall, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) as rising fast again – to to 11,649 on April 10th, up from 10,243 on March 31st. This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries – based on publicly available data. However, a number of other countries have higher rates, and/or death rates that are still increasing – and with far slower vaccination programmes: Slovenia, Belgium, San Marino, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Hungary, Czechia There are caveats about this data as all countries will be using slightly different recording but a measure that is less subject to such caveats – though less specific about the impact of the virus as opposed to the full impact of the pandemic and the ability of contries to control it, and/or health services to deal with outbreaks, is “excess deaths”.

Source: John Burn-Murdoch

“There are several different ways of comparing excess deaths figures between countries. In absolute numbers, more people than would usually be expected have died in the in the US than in any of the other countries for which recent all-cause mortality data is available.”

The UK is 7th highest/worst by this measure (the chart above on the right) – but lower once adjusting either per million people (the chart in the middle) or, most appropriately (taking account of population age structure etc), through comparison with the 5-year average of deaths (the chart on the left). Using this measure:

“It’s abundantly clear that Latin America is the hardest-hit region in the world, with the five highest excess death rates globally. The UK is 21st out of 48 countries, and the US 24th…

Note the underlying patterns. It can be easy for people in the US and UK to think Covid is almost gone, but excess deaths are climbing again in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru to name just three countries… The grim toll of Europe’s third wave is also clear. The Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Poland have all climbed above the UK into the global top 20…

Latin America’s urban hotspots have endured an especially brutal year. Deaths in the Peruvian capital Lima have been almost triple the norm. In Mexico City they’ve been double usual levels, and in Manaus almost the same.

The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (54) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (118 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (90), and Chile (63). Globally, the rate is 10 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

3 really useful charts from the Financial Times data journalist John Burn-Murdoch shared in a twitter thread today – on vaccinatin and reopening. His descriptions in quotes, and text-descriptions of the visuals from me – below:

Chart 1: “we’re on the way out of this. Several countries are very nearly there. Here is a new chart that we should all be watching over the coming months, as countries seek to follow Israel’s lead and reach the Covid endgame. For much of the last year, we’ve lived with restrictions to save lives. What we want now is for societies to reopen *without* risking illness & deaths. That’s the bottom-right quadrant here: people spending more time socialising at bars & cafés, while cases continue to fall.” [The UK is currently just in this quadrant – with mobility (the proxy for opening up) rising, while weekly new cases continue to fall. Israel is further into that quadrant. mobility is also increasing in the US, Netherland, Germany and Belgium – but cases are too. In other countries, cases have recently risen (Brazil, Chile, Poland, India) and mobility fallen as countries lock down]

Chart 2: “to the UK, where things are looking very good. The vaccine effect is still crystal clear, with more than 10,000 lives already estimated to have been saved” [The chart shows how cases, hospital admissions, and deaths have all fallen faster among the age demographic that received vaccines first (80+) – and therefore will have benefitted most from them in terms of building immune response – than in younger age groups (18-69 or 18-64 depending on the data comparison)]

Chart 3 breaks down the beneficial effect of vaccines on numbers of infections further: “as the UK’s vaccination rollout has progressed down through the age groups, so has the vaccine effect. It’s amazing how clear the pattern is.” [the chart shows that the share of people who test positive made up by people aged 90-100 – those first to be vaccinated – is 80% lower than it was on January 25th, when a first dose had been given to 50% of people aged 80+. Similar falls have followed for younger age groups: the share of cases made up by 80-90 year olds is around 70% lower, it’s 60% lower for 70-80 year olds, and around 50% lower for 60-70 year olds. As the weeks and months go on, and immunity from the vaccines builds and people receive second doses, we can expect the younger age groups to see further falls in line with the pattern]

Read the full twitter thread on “on the contest between vaccines & variants” (Burn-Murdoch also presents “data from Israel [that] suggests new variants are *not* escaping vaccine-acquired immunity”.

Lastly, two infographics on the benefits and risks associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and how these vary according to age, as this is in the news this week:

First, from the BBC: “Regulators are continuously combing through the details of the rare clots that have occurred to work out how many might be caused by vaccination. Assuming the worst – that they all are – we can do some ballpark calculations to get a sense of the risks.Based on the figures announced on Wednesday by the UK medicines regulator, if 10 million imaginary people were given the AZ vaccine you might expect to see 40 of these clots – with about 10 clots having fatal consequences.Ten deaths out of 10 million people vaccinated is a one-in-a-million chance.That’s roughly the same risk as being murdered in the next month or – if you get in a car and drive for 250 miles – the risk of you dying in a road accident on that journey.”

Source: BBC
Source: Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. from 9th April, twice weekly rapid tests will be 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. 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. I 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.

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.

Local testing:

The County Council have updated their information about how you can book a test locally. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not, and where you can pick up testing kits for households with school-aged children.

  • For people with symptoms, there are permanent testing units at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park.
  • Without symptoms, there is a site in Gloucester City and one located at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. A third site will be opening in the Forest of Dean on the 10th March.
  • You can pick up a testing kit from the permanent testing units at: Hempsted Meadows, Gloucester; High St Car Park, Cheltenham; and Stratford Park, Stroud.

See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.


5th April 2021 data update

Before this week’s data update for Stroud, Gloucestershire and beyond, a reminder of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap for ending restrictions, taken from gov.uk: “Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 12 April. You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England. You can also read the law that underpins these changes and the ongoing restrictions.”

From 12 April:

  • “non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)”

A reminder that from 1 April, “if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will no longer be advised to shield.”

Key data:

  • 20 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 31st March (down from 26 in the previous week). The numbers of people testing positive each week are falling – now back to levels last seen in late September (23 in the week to 23rd Sept). Just 0.5% of the 3,071 tests completed in the last 7-day period for which data is available tested positive.
  • Across Gloucestershire, 91 people tested positive in the week to the 31st March (down from 110 in the previous week) – now back to the levels lower than last seen at the end of September (110 in the week to 23rd September). The rate per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire is 14.6 – making it the 14th lowest rate for equivalent local authorities in the UK.
  • Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that – as of 28th March, the latest publicly available data – 69% of the Stroud district population aged 16+ has had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (67,549 people). Across Gloucestershire, 64% has had a first dose and 10% have had a second dose. Across the South West, 63% have had a first dose, and across England over 25 million people have recevied a first dose of vaccine (57% of the population aged 16+)
  • The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is down to 5 patients on the 30th March (the most recent date data is available), down from 6 the week before (having peaked at 262 on the 6th January). There have been no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally since 17th March, ie, for over two weeks.
  • For the first week since that ending on the 30th October, no-one from Stroud district died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate in the most recent week of data (to 19th March). In Gloucestershire – 4 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, bringing the total for the county to 1,177 people. 196 of these people were from the Stroud district. We send our condolences to all affected.
  • Nationally, the number of deaths in a week is – in the most recent death certificate data from the week to the 19th March – “8.0% below the five-year average (894 fewer deaths).” (ONS)
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

We have a full month of data on people testing positive for March – and the decline from December and January’s extremely high figures is really stark. 586 people across Gloucestershire tested positive in March 2021, 11 times lower than in January. The figure is not much higher than for September last year (407), and there is every reason to expect numbers to continue to fall to the levels of August (136), July (64) and June (50) last year or potentially even lower.

Looking week-by-week, you can see that across Gloucestershire the number of people testing positive continues to fall: 91 people tested positive in the week to the 31st March (down from 110 in the previous week) – now back to the levels lower than last seen at the end of September (110 in the week to 23rd September). The rate per 100,000 people across Gloucestershire is 14.6 – making it the 14th lowest rate for equivalent local authorities in the UK., and behind only Bath and North East Somerset, Devon and the Isle of Wight among English local authorities. You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. Across Gloucestershire, a total of 22,314 people have now tested positive.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

Looking at Stroud district specifically, 20 people tested positive in the most recent week – to 31st March – down from 26 in the previous week and 37 in the week before that. The rate in Stroud district of 16.7 per 100,000 is – slightly – lower than Cheltenham (26.7), and higher than in other areas of Gloucestershire, which have even lower rates: Gloucester (18.6), the Forest of Dean (12.7), Tewkesbury (11.6), and Cotswold (11.1). Numbers of infections continue to fall. The number of people who have tested positive in the most recent week is on track to return to the low levels of August, July and June if people continue to follow the guidelines. Across Stroud district, 3,734 people have now tested positive.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

A portion of positive tests will come from Lateral Flow Device testing associated with schools or people without symptoms – we are hopefully catching more people without symptoms who are positive and this should help break transmission chains. In order to be sure that this higher number of tests aren’t altering our understanding of what’s happening, one thing we can do is look at the proportion of PCR tests (for people with symptoms) are positive: this is falling. There is some complexity around whether people who test positive with an LFD get a confirmatory PCR test, but that shouldn’t affect the numbers too much. The most recent data has 0.5% of people who undertook a PCR test testing positive – down from 0.6% a week ago, and 1.1% a week before that. The rate (which covers the previous 7 days) was last this low on the 1st September. This is consistent with the raw numbers of people testing positive, and suggests prevalence (the amount of people with the virus in the community) can be compared even if the number of tests being conducted has changed.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows much of the district – and surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 30th March (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in these places). See below for trends by areas of the district (“MSOAs” – “Middle Layer Super Output Areas – a statistical geography). The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Cirencester where the rate is 45.8 per 100,000 over the past 7 days – this comes from 3 cases, up by 1 from the previous week, and could represent just one household. In Stroud district, the only other areas with significant numbers of cases are Wotton-under-Edge (4 cases, up from 2 the previous week), and Ebley & Randwick (5 cases, up from 3 from the previous week).

Source: govt interactive map

Below are the charts for trends – you can see how cases are below 2 (and plausibly zero) in most of the district – up to the 28th March. At that point, cases remained higher/possibly rising rather than low/falling only in Ebley & Randwick. It remains the case that there are no sustained rises and identification of low numbers of rising cases could mean contact tracing case finding related to low numbers of cases in the week before.

Source: gov.uk data download – MSOA API

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to see this data as a map.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 85 active cases for the district – down 41 from last week by their measure. Please continue to take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate – we still want to get the infections lower than they are now.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Vaccinations

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 7th March (the most recent available data) there have been 385,892 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (51,433 doses delivered in the past week of data). Of these, 333,308 are first doses and 52,584 second doses. Based on the 2019 population estimate for the area, these have covered approximately:

  • 64% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose, 10% have had a second dose.
  • This compares to 63% and 7% for the South West as a whole.
  • And across England, 57% of the population aged 16+ have had a first dose and 6% a second dose.
  • Across Stroud district, every part of the district (“MSOA” level as above) has seen enough first doses given to cover 60% or more of the population aged 16+ (ie, those included in the current vaccination programme). Rates are highest as a percentage of estimated residents in Painswick, Bisley and Eastcombe (78%), Minchinhampton & Amberley (77%), and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (77%). These rates are higher because a higher proportion of the population is in eligible categories (ie, aged 50 or over, working in health or social care, or clinically vulnerable).
Source: NHS England – data and chart compiled by Claire Biggs

The chart above shows how the proportion of the population of Stroud district aged over 16 has increased over the past few weeks.

“The NHS in Gloucestershire is this week urging people aged 50 years and over to take up their appointment offer of a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine without delay. Local GP services have been contacting patients by text or letter with reminders going out in recent days.” (25th March update).

People aged 50 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

If you are aged over 50 or over, or believe you are Clinically Vulnerable or a carer for someone who is, you can book via the link above, but if you can’t get to one of the mass vaccination sites (Gloucester is the nearest but is often fully booked and the other sites are in Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) please get in touch with your surgery by email to check you have not been missed.

Check out our videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

Prices Mill surgery update on 24th March says “if anyone over 50 or Clinically Vulnerable (Groups 1-9) wants the vaccine and has not yet received it, please contact the surgery as we may not have up-to-date details for you. You will continue to remain eligible, so please call the surgery.”.

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district.

Vaccination will then continue to proceed in age groups, which is “the fastest way to cut Covid-19 deaths in the next phase of the rollout, say experts advising the UK government” [the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation].

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge – over 25 million people being vaccinated in 4 months is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them.

For a description of priority groups see, our previous post.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Please continue to ask us questions/raise concerns in our Facebook group and we will signpost to the best information we are aware of and/or pass on concerns as and when appropriate. We have separated out tagging of posts in the Facebook group into posts about local vaccination progress, and posts about the Covid-19 vaccines more generally, the latter including attempts to tackle misinformation.

Hospitals – local, national

The good news is that the number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and now down to – 5 patients on the 30th March (the most recent date data is available), down from 6 the week before. Sadly, some of this decline will be due to people in hospital dying – and it appears the number has risen from 4 so we can assume some people are being (re)admitted. However, it seems clear that soon there will be no Covid-19 patients in local hospitals again, as was last the case in September (there were last 5 patients on 2nd October 2020).

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 272 people were admitted on the 28th March (compared to 360 seven days previously). This number is now less than a sixteenth of the peak daily number for this ‘wave’ (4,576 Covid-19 patients were admitted on the 12th January), and less than a tenth of the first ‘wave’ peak (3,150 on the 7th April).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospitals remains fairly high – 3,536 on the 1st April, similar to the 3,537 on the 28th June last year (down to less than a tenth of the peak of 39,249 on 18th January).

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also now lower than in the Spring 2020 peak – having peaked at 4,077 patients (on 24th January). There are still 517 patients in these beds as of the 1st April. We send our best for their recovery. T

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 53,400 people had a symptomtic infection on the 5th April, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 69,900 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The KCL/ZOE team estimate a similar number of people with symptomatic infections on the 15th September 2020 – 52,200.

People who have died with Covid-19

In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 12th March – shows that 1,177 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (4 people have been added to the total in the most recent week of data). 196 of these people were from the Stroud district (no more people have died since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.

The data is from registrations of death up to the 19th March, and sadly we know it will continue to rise. Barring dramatic mutations/failures of policy, however, we should never see the weekly numbers we have seen recently again.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Gloucestershire deaths

Last week’s update included a chart compared the death rate in Stroud district (163.4 people per 100,000 – one in every 613 people) with other local areas (including Gloucester: 210 and Rhondda Cynon Taf: 362 – one in every 276 people) that have seen more people die compared to their local population.

The above data is the best we get on people who have died – from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates. This data takes time to come in – so the below is only up to the 26th February. It is sobering reading – but the number of deaths continues to fall:

  • “In Week 11, the number of deaths registered in England and Wales was 8.0% below the five-year average (894 fewer deaths); this is the second consecutive week that deaths have been below the five-year average.”

There is a good piece on why deaths are lower than the 5-year average from David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at Cambridge, and Anthony Masters, statistical ambassador for the Royal Statistical Society.

  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 11 in England and Wales, 963 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, a decrease of 538 deaths compared with Week 10.
  • “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 19 March 2021 was 661,608 in England and Wales. Of the deaths registered by 19 March 2021, 136,830 (20.7%) mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. During this period, the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 119,274 deaths.

There is no Independent SAGE weekly briefing this week, but Kit Yates has posted a twitter thread that provides the usual summary of national data: “Overall it’s good news. Positivity rates low and falling or flat across all nations and most of local authorities.”

International context

Globally, over 2.77 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – but there is a sign that the number of people dying may be starting to fall, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) is falling again – to to 9,811 on April 3rd, from 10,243 on March 31st. This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries – based on publicly available data (currently the 10th worst affected of all countries), at 1,872 people per million. However, a number of other countries have higher rates, and/or death rates that are still increasing – and with far slower vaccination programmes: Slovenia, Belgium, San Marino, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Hungary, Czechia (in the latter 2,516 people per million have died with their death reported to be associated with Covid-19). There are caveats about this data as all countries will be using slightly different recording but…

Several countries have much lower death rates, including Denmark (420 per million), Turkey (383 per million), Finland (153 per million), Norway (124 per million), Bangladesh (56 per million), Cuba (38 per million), Australia (36 per million), South Korea (34 per million), New Zealand and Singapore (5 people per million), China, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Bhutan Mongolia, and Eritrea (all below 5 people per million), and Vietnam, Tanzania, Taiwan and Burundi (all reporting under 1 person per million).

The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (54) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (117 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (87), and Chile (56). Globally, the rate is 8.5 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. 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. I 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.

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.

Local testing:

The County Council have updated their information about how you can book a test locally. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not, and where you can pick up testing kits for households with school-aged children.

  • For people with symptoms, there are permanent testing units at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park.
  • Without symptoms, there is a site in Gloucester City and one located at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. A third site will be opening in the Forest of Dean on the 10th March.
  • You can pick up a testing kit from the permanent testing units at: Hempsted Meadows, Gloucester; High St Car Park, Cheltenham; and Stratford Park, Stroud.

See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.


28th March 2021 data update

The next stage of lockdown easing takes place on March 29th. Read the government’s “roadmap” at this link. The key changes are

  • “you will be able to meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
  • you will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
  • childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
  • formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be not counted in this number

From 1 April, if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. Contact your local authority or speak to your GP if you have any concerns.”

Key data:

  • Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, 58% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose and 6% have had a second dose. And across England, 52% of the population aged 16+ have had a first dose and 4% a second dose. Across Stroud district, every part of the district (“MSOA” level as above) has seen enough first doses given to cover 50% or more of the population, and across the district as a whole, 63% of the estimated population aged over 16 has had at least a first dose.
  • 26 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 24th March (down from 37 in the previous week). The numbers of people testing positive each week are falling – now back to levels last seen in late September (23 in the week to 23rd Sept). The rate in Stroud district of 23.3 per 100,000 is lower than in the Forest of Dean (26.5) and Cheltenham (26.7) but other areas of Gloucestershire have even lower rates: Tewkesbury (13.7), Gloucester (10.1) and Cotswold (7.8). We still need to stick to the guidance to get infection numbers down to really low levels.
  • Across Gloucestershire, 110 people tested positive in the week to the 24th March (down from 125 in the previous week) – now back to the levels last seen at the end of September (110 in the week to 23rd September).
  • The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and down to 6 patients on the 23rd March (the most recent date data is available), down from 11 the week before (the proportion of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is down to 1%). There are no patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds locally.
  • In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 12th March – shows that 1,173 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (11 people have been added to the total in the most recent week of data). 196 of these people were from the Stroud district (three more people have died since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.
  • Nationally, the number of deaths in a week is – in the most recent death certificate data from the week to the 12th March – now back to levels at/below the 5 year average – for the first time October.
  • We now have one full year of data based on death certificates (from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 12 March 2021): “651,310 people died in England and Wales during that year. Of the deaths registered by 12 March 2021, 135,808 (20.9%) mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. During this period, the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 120,181 deaths.” (ONS)
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Looking week-by-week, you can see that across Gloucestershire the number of people testing positive continues to fall: 110 in the most recent week (to 24th March), compared to 125 in the week to 17th March. This equates to a rate of 18.1 per 100,000 people (or roughly 1 in every 5,500 people) – the 9th lowest rate for all equivalent local authorities across the UK, and behind only Devon and the Isle of Wight among English local authorities. You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. Across Gloucestershire, a total of 22,223 people have now tested positive.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

Looking at Stroud district specifically, 26 people tested positive in the most recent week – to 24th March – down from 37 in the previous week and 40 in the week before that. At time of writing this is a rate of 23.3 people per 100,000 (or roughly one in every 4,300 people). Numbers of infections continue to fall. The number of people who have tested positive in the most recent week is on track to return to the low levels of August, July and June if people continue to follow the guidelines. Across Stroud district, 3,716 people have now tested positive.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

We can compare rates in different local authority areas, by looking at how many people have tested positive in the past 7 day period compared to the population. The rate in Stroud district of 23.3 per 100,000 is lower than in the Forest of Dean (26.5) and Cheltenham (26.7) but other areas of Gloucestershire have even lower rates: Tewkesbury (13.7), Gloucester (10.1) and Cotswold (7.8). However, these differences are small and the more significant difference is with these local authorities as a whole and those with higher rates. Nearby South Gloucestershire (40), Wychavon (38.6), and West Oxfordshire (38) all have rates roughly double those within Gloucestershire local authorities, but even these are well below the highest rates in the country – Barnsley (162.8) and Merthyr Tydfil (134.3) for example, have rates 5 or more times higher than those in Stroud district.

A portion of positive tests will come from Lateral Flow Device testing associated with schools – we are hopefully catching more people without symptoms who are positive and this should help break transmission chains. In order to be sure that this higher number of tests aren’t altering our understanding of what’s happening, one thing we can do is look at the proportion of PCR tests (for people with symptoms) are positive – this is falling. There is some complexity around whether people who test positive with an LFD get a confirmatory PCR test, but that shouldn’t affect the numbers too much. The most recent data has 0.7% of people who undertook a PCR test testing positive – down from 1.1% a week ago, and 1.2% a week before that. The rate (which covers the previous 7 days) was last this low on the 20th September. This is consistent with the raw numbers of people testing positive, and suggests prevalence (the amount of people with the virus in the community) can be compared even if the number of tests being conducted has changed.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows much of the district – and surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 23rd March (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive in the previous 7 days in these places). See below for trends by areas of the district (“MSOAs” – “Middle Layer Super Output Areas – a statistical geography). The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Cam where the rate is 104.4 per 100,000 over the past 7 days, and infection numbers appear to be rising. In Stroud district, the only other areas with significant numbers of cases are Leonard Stanley and Uley (4 cases, down 3 from the previous week – rate of 57.9 per 100,000), and Stonehouse (4 cases, up 2 from the previous week – rate of 49.8 per 100,000 people).

Source: govt interactive map

Below are the charts for trends – you can see how cases are falling in most of the district – up to the 20th March. At that point, cases remained higher/possibly rising rather than low/falling only in Cam. There is a small uptick in Stonehouse and in Ebley and Ranwick but these are not sustained rises and could mean contact tracing case finding related to low numbers of cases (1 or 2) in the week before.

Source: gov.uk data download – MSOA API

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to see this data as a map.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 163 active cases for the district – up 14 from last week by their measure, back to the level of the week before. The team behind these estimate have recently updated their system. The flat estimates are not a cause for alarm but please continue to take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate – we still want to get the infections lower than they are now.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Vaccinations

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 7th March (the most recent available data) there have been 334,459 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (up 57,908 in the past week of data – the highest number of weekly vaccinations we have data for). Of these, 302,836 are first doses and 31,623 second doses. Based on the 2019 population estimate for the area, these have covered approximately:

  • 58% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose (48% of the total population, including people aged under 16 who are not included in current vaccination plans), 6% have had a second dose.
  • This compares to 58% and 4% for the South West as a whole.
  • And across England, 52% of the population aged 16+ have had a first dose and 4% a second dose.
  • Across Stroud district, every part of the district (“MSOA” level as above) has seen enough first doses given to cover 50% or more of the population. Rates are highest as a percentage of estimated residents in Painswick, Bisley and Eastcombe (73%), Minchinhampton & Amberley (73%), and Frampton, Whitminster & Eastington (72%). These rates are higher because a higher proportion of the population is in eligible categories (ie, aged 50 or over, working in health or social care, or clinically vulnerable).

People aged 50 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

If you are aged over 50 or over, or believe you are Clinically Vulnerable or a carer for someone who is, you can book via the link above, but if you can’t get to one of the mass vaccination sites (Gloucester is the nearest but is often fully booked and the other sites are in Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) please get in touch with your surgery by email to check you have not been missed.

Check out our videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

“The NHS in Gloucestershire is this week urging people aged 50 years and over to take up their appointment offer of a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine without delay. Local GP services have been contacting patients by text or letter with reminders going out in recent days.” (25th March update)

Rowcroft Medical Centre update on 23rd March says “if you are over 50 or if you have one of the conditions listed in the Green Book – link in a previous post – and have not yet been invited please call us!”

Prices Mill surgery update on 24th March says “if anyone over 50 or Clinically Vulnerable (Groups 1-9) wants the vaccine and has not yet received it, please contact the surgery as we may not have up-to-date details for you. You will continue to remain eligible, so please call the surgery.”.

The table below shows the vaccination hubs associated with different surgeries in the district.

Vaccination will then continue to proceed in age groups, which is “the fastest way to cut Covid-19 deaths in the next phase of the rollout, say experts advising the UK government” [the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation].

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge – over 25 million people being vaccinated in 4 months is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them.

For a description of priority groups see, our previous post.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Please continue to ask us questions/raise concerns in our Facebook group and we will signpost to the best information we are aware of and/or pass on concerns as and when appropriate. We have separated out tagging of posts in the Facebook group into posts about local vaccination progress, and posts about the Covid-19 vaccines more generally, the latter including attempts to tackle misinformation.

Hospitals – local, national

The good news is that the number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and now down to – 6 patients on the 23rd March (the most recent date data is available), down from 11 the week before. Sadly, some of this decline will be due to people in hospital dying – but it is good news that more people are not being admitted, and it seems clear that soon there will be no Covid-19 patients in local hospitals again, as was last the case in September (there were last fewer than 6 in early October).

Source: NHS hospital activity

In terms of the proportion of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals (the blue bars only in the chart above), there is good news – the proportion of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is down to the lowest level since 17th November (the earliest day for which we have data): 0.8% on 23rd March. There is starting to be a little more spare capacity in the hospitals: 10% of beds were unoccupied on 23rd March.

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 343 people were admitted on the 24th March (compared to 443 seven days previously). This number is now less than a tenth of the peak daily number for this ‘wave’ (4,576 Covid-19 patients were admitted on the 12th January), and around a tenth of the first ‘wave’ peak (3,150 on the 7th April).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospitals remains fairly high – 4,560 on the 25th March, the same number as on the 18th June last year (down a long way from the peak of 39,249 on 18th January.

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also now lower than in the Spring 2020 peak – having peaked at 4,077 patients (on 24th January). There are still 615 patients in these beds as of the 26th March. We send our best for their recovery. The chart below, from this week’s Independent SAGE briefing – shows how the number of adult critical care beds that are occupied now is now close to the number occupied last winter. The chart also shows how capacity was increased, and how much higher numbers of people in critical care in England were compared to last year, and last years capacity.

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 69,900 people had a symptomtic infection on the 28th March, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 74,800 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The chart below shows how the KCL/ZOE estimate roughly matches the two random sample studies of prevalence run by the ONS and “REACT” (Imperial College/Ipsos Mori).

Source: KCL’s Professor Tim Spector

People who have died with Covid-19

In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 12th March – shows that 1,173 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (11 people have been added to the total in the most recent week of data). 196 of these people were from the Stroud district (three more people have died since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.

The data is from registrations of death up to the 12th March, and sadly we know it will continue to rise. Barring dramatic mutations/failures of policy, we should never see the weekly numbers we have seen recently again.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Gloucestershire deaths

Over the course of the pandemic, the rate of people who have died with Covid-19 on their death certificate compared to the population in Stroud district is 163.4 people per 100,000 – one in every 613 people. This is higher than for the Forest of Dean (139 people), by similar to Cotswold district (162.5), and lower than for Tewkesbury (206), Cheltenham (209) and Gloucester (210). Across the UK, it is also relatively low – places like Blackpool (329), Merthyr Tydfil (343) and Rhondda Cynon Taf (362 – in in every 276 people) have seen more than twice as many people die compared to their local population.

The above data is the best we get on people who have died – from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates. This data takes time to come in – so the below is only up to the 26th February. It is sobering reading – but the number of deaths continues to fall:

  • “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 12 March 2021 was 12,465, which was 605 fewer than the five-year average; of deaths registered in the UK in Week 10, 1,637 deaths involved COVID-19, that is, 643 lower than in Week 9.”
  • “Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 12 March 2021 was 651,310 in England and Wales. Of the deaths registered by 12 March 2021, 135,808 (20.9%) mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. During this period, the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 120,181 deaths.

Our previous update discusses the death rate in Stroud district compared to the rest of the country.

For more on the national situation I – as ever – highly recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing (1 hr 20 minutes). This week has a data presentation from Kit Yates that includes a section on the impact of schools reopening.

International context

Globally, over 2.77 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – but there is a sign that the number of people dying may be starting to fall, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) has risen recently – to to 9,402 on March 26th from 8,782 on March 20th, having been been falling dramatically since January 26th (14,402). This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020. While things are improving in the UK, there is a long way to go globally before the pandemic is over.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries – based on publicly available data (currently the 7th worst affected of all countries), at 1,868 people per million – behind only Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovenia, Belgium, Czechia and San Marino (2,475 per million – though obviously a country with a much smaller population than the others). There are caveats about this data as all countries will be using slightly different recording but…

Several countries have much lower death rates, including Estonia (648 per million), Denmark (417 per million), Turkey (367 per million), Finland (147 per million), Norway (121 per million), Bangladesh (54 per million), Cuba (37 per million), Australia (36 per million), South Korea (34 per million), New Zealand (5 people per million), Singapore, China, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Bhutan Mongolia, and Eritrea (all below 5 people per million), and Vietnam, Tanzania, Taiwan and Burundi (all reporting under 1 person per million).

The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (49) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (115 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (80), and Chile (50). Globally, the rate is 6.9 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. 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. I 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.

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.

Local testing:

The County Council have updated their information about how you can book a test locally. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not, and where you can pick up testing kits for households with school-aged children.

  • For people with symptoms, there are permanent testing units at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park.
  • Without symptoms, there is a site in Gloucester City and one located at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. A third site will be opening in the Forest of Dean on the 10th March.
  • You can pick up a testing kit from the permanent testing units at: Hempsted Meadows, Gloucester; High St Car Park, Cheltenham; and Stratford Park, Stroud.

See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.


21st March 2021 data update

The next stage of lockdown easing takes place on March 29th. Read the government’s “roadmap” at this link.

Key data:

  • Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, 50% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose. The proportion for Stroud district is in line with this – in fact ever so slightly higher at (also 50%). Across the South West, the figure is very similar (51%). In each case, the rate is higher than for England as a whole (45%). In seven of the 15 smaller areas of Stroud distict for which data is available, at least half of the people who will be invited for vaccinations have already been vaccinated with at least one dose. More detail for areas of the district is included below.
  • 37 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 17th March (down from 40 in the previous week). The numbers of people testing positive each week are falling – now back to levels last seen in mid-October. We still need to stick to the guidance to get infection numbers down to really low levels.
  • Across Gloucestershire, 125 people tested positive in the week to the 17th March (down from 155 in the previous week) – now back to the levels last seen at the end of September.
  • The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and below a twentieth of that – 11 patients on the 16th March (the most recent date data is available), down 10 from the week before (the proportion of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is down to 1%). Dave Windsor, Consultant in Intensive Care and Anaesthesia at the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust revealed on Thursday 18th March that there were no Covid-19 patients in critical care locally, for the first time in 5 months.
  • In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 5th March – shows that 1,162 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (12 people have been added to the total in the most recent week). 193 of these people were from the Stroud district (four more people have died since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Looking week-by-week, you can see that across Gloucestershire the number of people testing positive continues to fall: 125 in the most recent week (to 17th March), compared to 155 in the week to 10th March. This equates to a rate of 17.9 per 100,000 people (or roughly 1 in every 5,600 people). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. Across Gloucestershire, a total of 22,141 people have now tested positive.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

Looking at Stroud district specifically, 37 people tested positive in the most recent week – to 17th March – down from 40 in the previous week and 61 in the week before that. At time of writing this is a rate of 28 people per 100,000 (or roughly one in every 3,600 people). Numbers of infections continue to fall. The number of people who have tested positive in the most recent week is on track to return to the low levels of September, August, July and June if people continue to follow the guidelines. Across Stroud district, 3,697 people have now tested positive.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

A portion of positive tests will come from Lateral Flow Device testing associated with schools – we are hopefully catching more people without symptoms who are positive and this should help break transmission chains. In order to be sure that this higher number of tests aren’t altering our understanding of what’s happening, one thing we can do is look at the proportion of PCR tests (for people with symptoms) are positive – this is falling. There is some complexity around whether people who test positive with an LFD get a confirmatory PCR test, but that shouldn’t affect the numbers too much. The most recent data has 1% of people who undertook a PCR test testing positive – down from 1.2% a week ago, and 1.9% a week before that.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows much of the district – and surrounding areas across the county and beyond – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 16th March (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive). See below for trends by areas of the district (“MSOAs” – “Middle Layer Super Output Areas – a statistical geography). The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Oakley in Cheltenham where the rate is 106.9 per 100,000 over the past 7 days, and infection numbers appear to be rising. In Stroud district, the area with highest rate is Leonard Stanley & Uley where the rate is 101.3 per 100,000, and appears to be rising. As above, this could be related to Lateral Flow Device testing in schools – It would only need a few positive tests of asymptomatic pupils who would not previously have showed up in the figures to create the slight rise we see – and they could be spread over several schools or all at one school – we don’t know.

Source: govt interactive map

Below are the charts for trends – you can see how cases are falling in most of the district – up to the 13th March. At that point, cases remained higher/possibly rising rather than low/falling only in Cam, Dursley, and Leonard Stanley & Uley. Gloucestershire Live have a piece about the areas with the highest rates in the county, including the three areas in Stroud district.

Source: gov.uk data download – MSOA API

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to see this data as a map.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 135 active cases for the district – down 15 from last week by their measure. The team behind these estimate have recently updated their system. The flat-ish estimate is not a cause for alarm but please continue to take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate – we still want to get the infections lower than they are now.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Vaccinations

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 7th March (the most recent available data) there have been 296,629 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (up 49,282 in the past week of data). Of these, 256,473 are first doses and 20,078 second doses. Based on the 2019 population estimate for the area, these have covered approximately:

  • 49% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose (40% of the total population, including people aged under 16 who are not included in current vaccination plans), 4% have had a second dose.
  • This compares to 47% and 2.1% for the South West as a whole.
  • And across England, 42% of the population aged 16+ have had a first dose and 1.8% a second dose.
  • Across Gloucestershire, around 92% of people aged 65-69 have had a first dose, around 97% of people aged 70-74, around 100%* of people aged 75-79 and around 99% of people aged 80+. *Proportions are calculated against ONS population estimates, which may not be exactly accurate. Nonetheless, vaccination rates in the first priority groups are very high.
  • Across Stroud district, vaccination rates are as follows (as a percentage of people aged 16+, ie the total population that vaccination will be offered to under current plans). Please understand that these percentages are affected by how much of the local population has been eligible for vaccination, and the size of the local population, not necessarily by takeup. They are in alphabetical order only:
    • 48% Berkely & Sharpness
    • 50% Cam
    • 49% Chalford & Bussage
    • 43% Dursley
    • 49% Ebley & Randwick
    • 56% Framptom, Whitminster & Eastington
    • 55% Leonard Stanley & Uley
    • 58% Minchinhampton & Amberley
    • 57% Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe
    • 49% Rodborough & Thrupp
    • 50% Stonehouse
    • 44% Stroud Town
    • 48% Upton St Leonards and Hardwicke
    • 48% Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood

People aged 50 and over can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

People aged 50-60 can wait to receive contact from their GP to be vaccinated at their more local hub. We have heard that some surgeries are even inviting people beyond the first 9 priority groups (ie, in group 10, starting with 49 year olds and working down to 40 year olds). Generally, please don’t call your GP surgery to discuss when you will be vaccinated – wait for them to contact you. If you are aged over 65 or believe you are Clinically Vulnerable or a carer for someone who is, you can book via the link above, but if you can’t get to one of the mass vaccination sites (Gloucester is the nearest but is often fully booked and the other sites are in Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) please get in touch with your surgery by email to check you have not been missed.

Check out our videos with Dr Jim Holmes and Practice Manager Karen Pitney from Rowcroft Medical Centre on “why you should get vaccinated“, “the process for receiving your vaccination” and “second doses“.

Prices Mill surgery update on 18th March says “Many of our patients in the 50-64 groups (Priority Group 7-9) are travelling to other sites bookable through the link below. So much so that we may be inviting under 50s (Priority Group 10) shortly”.

Dr Mark Porter says that The Vale in Dursley “hope to have given everyone first dose by around end of next month (if all goes well). Currently inviting in vulnerable & people in late 50s for 1st, and higher priority for 2nd.”

Vaccination will then continue to proceed in age groups, which is “the fastest way to cut Covid-19 deaths in the next phase of the rollout, say experts advising the UK government” [the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation].

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge – over 25 million people being vaccinated in 4 months is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them.

For a description of priority groups see, our previous post / image below.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Please continue to ask us questions/raise concerns in our Facebook group and we will signpost to the best information we are aware of and/or pass on concerns as and when appropriate. We have separated out tagging of posts in the Facebook group into posts about local vaccination progress, and posts about the Covid-19 vaccines more generally, the latter including attempts to tackle misinformation.

Hospitals – local, national

The good news is that the number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and below a tenth of that – 11 patients on the 16th March (the most recent date data is available), down 10 from the week before. Sadly, some of this decline will be due to people in hospital dying – but it is good news that more people are not being admitted, and it seems clear that soon there will be no Covid-19 patients in local hospitals again, as was last the case in September. Dave Windsor, Consultant in Intensive Care and Anaesthesia at the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust revealed on Thursday 18th March that there were no Covid-19 patients in critical care locally, for the first time in 5 months. We wish everyone in hospital with Covid-19 and their loved ones well.

Source: NHS hospital activity

In terms of the proportion of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals (the blue bars only in the chart above), there is good news – the proportion of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is down to the lowest level since 17th November (the earliest day for which we have data): 1% on 16th March. There is starting to be a little more spare capacity in the hospitals: 7% of beds were unoccupied on 16th March.

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 437 people were admitted on the 10th March (compared to 566 seven days previously). This number is now less than a tenth of the peak daily number for this ‘wave’ (4,576 Covid-19 patients were admitted on the 12th January), and well below the first ‘wave’ peak (3,150 on the 7th April), mid-November peak (1,782 patients on 18th November).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospitals remains high – 6,162 on the 18th March. Coming out of the first ‘wave’, it was 6,143 on the 5th June.

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also now lower than in the Spring 2020 peak – having peaked at 4,077 patients (on 24th January). There are still 830 patients in these beds as of the 19th March (down from 1,110 patients la week earlier). This compares to 3,247 on the 18th April at the height of the spring 2020 peak. We send our best for their recovery.

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 74,800 people had a symptomtic infection on the 21st March, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 94,000 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January. The chart below shows how the KCL/ZOE estimate roughly matches the two random sample studies of prevalence run by the ONS and “REACT” (Imperial College/Ipsos Mori).

Source: KCL’s Professor Tim Spector

The ONS “estimate that estimate that 160,200 people within the community population in England had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 142,000 to 179,400), equating to around 1 in 340 people” in the week to the 13th March.

People who have died with Covid-19

In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 5th March – shows that 1,162 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (12 people have been added to the total in the most recent week). 193 of these people were from the Stroud district (four more people have died since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.

The data is from registrations of death up to the 5th March, and sadly we know it will continue to rise. Barring dramatic mutations/failures of policy, we should never see the weekly numbers we have seen recently again.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Gloucestershire deaths

The above data is the best we get on people who have died – from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates. This data takes time to come in – so the below is only up to the 26th February. It is sobering reading – but the number of deaths continues to fall:

  • “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 5 March 2021 was 13,107, which was 403 higher than the five-year average; of deaths registered in the UK in Week 9, 2,279 deaths involved COVID-19, that is, 920 lower than in Week 8.”
  • “The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 5 March 2021 (Week 9) was 11,592; this was 1,022 fewer deaths than the previous week (Week 8).”
  • “In Week 9, the number of deaths registered in England and Wales was 3.7% above the five-year average (409 deaths higher).”
  • “Of the deaths registered in Week 9 in England and Wales, 2,105 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, a decrease of 809 deaths compared with Week 8.”
  • “In Week 9, deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 18.2% of all deaths in England and Wales, compared with 23.1% in Week 8.”
  • “Of the 2,105 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 9 in England and Wales, 1,685 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (80.0%).”
  • “In England, the total number of registered deaths decreased from 11,844 (Week 8) to 10,882 (Week 9); total deaths have decreased in all English regions for the third week in a row.”

Our previous update discusses the death rate in Stroud district compared to the rest of the country.

For more on the national situation I – as ever – highly recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing (1 hr 20 minutes). This week has a data presentation from Dr Christina Pagel that includes a section on vaccine impact on deaths that is really worth watching if you want to understand that – from around 7 minutes in.

International context

Globally, over 2.7 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – but there is a sign that the number of people dying may be starting to fall, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) has risen recently – to 8,782 on March 20th, having been been falling dramatically since January 26th (14,402), to 8,545 on March 13th). This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020 – and there is a long way to go.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries – based on publicly available data (currently the 7th worst affected of all countries), at 1,861 people per million – behind only Hungary, Montenegro, Slovenia, Belgium, Czechia and San Marino (2,269 per million – though obviously a country with a much smaller population than the others). There are caveats about this data as all countries will be using slightly different recording but…

Several countries have much lower death rates, including Estonia (588 per million), Denmark (414 per million), Turkey (355 per million), Finland (145 per million), Norway (119 per million), Bangladesh (53 per million), Australia (36 per million), South Korea (33 per million), Cuba (35 per million), New Zealand (5 people per million), Singapore, China, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Bhutan Mongolia, and Eritrea (all below 5 people per million), and Vietnam, Tanzania, Taiwan and Burundi (all reporting under 1 person per million).

The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (43) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (112 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (73). Globally, the rate is 5.6 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. 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. I 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.

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.

Local testing:

The County Council have updated their information about how you can book a test locally. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not, and where you can pick up testing kits for households with school-aged children.

  • For people with symptoms, there are permanent testing units at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park.
  • Without symptoms, there is a site in Gloucester City and one located at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. A third site will be opening in the Forest of Dean on the 10th March.
  • You can pick up a testing kit from the permanent testing units at: Hempsted Meadows, Gloucester; High St Car Park, Cheltenham; and Stratford Park, Stroud.

See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.


14th March 2021 data update

Before the data update, a summary of the rules about “what you can and cannot do [that] changed on 8 March as part of the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’.” These are taken from the government webpage – read more at the link.

  • Outdoor recreation: You can spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on your own, with your household or support bubble, or with one other person. This means you can sit down for a drink or picnic. You must continue to maintain social distance from those outside your household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise, which is already permitted.
  • Education and childcare: Pupils and students in all schools and further education settings should return to face-to-face education. Wraparound childcare can reopen and other children’s activities can restart only where it is needed to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children’s activities in all circumstances. Students on practical higher education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return to higher education.
  • Travel out of the UK: There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel. Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure.
  • Visiting a care home: The rules on visiting care homes have changed to allow regular indoor visits for a single named visitor.”
  • Read the full government “roadmap out of the current lockdown for England“, which includes the next elements changing on 29th March.

Key data:

  • Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, 45% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose. The proportion for Stroud district is in line with this – in fact ever so slightly higher at 46%. Across the South West, the figure is slightly higher still (47%). In each case, the rate is higher than for England as a whole (42%). There are two parts of Stroud distict where half of the people who will be invited for vaccinations have already been vaccinated with at least one dose – Painswick, Bisley and Eastcombe (50%) and Minchinhampton (52%). More detail for areas of the district is included below.
  • 40 people from Stroud district tested positive in the most recent week – to 10th March (down from 61 in the previous week). The numbers of people testing positive each week is falling – now back to levels last seen in mid-October. However, the ZOE/Kings College London app estimate shows numbers of people with active infections flat or rising slightly – we still need to stick to the guidance to get infection numbers down to really low levels.
  • Across Gloucestershire, 154 people tested positive in the week to the 10th March (down from 187 in the previous week) – now back to the levels last seen at the end of September.
  • The number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and below a tenth of that – 21 patients on the 9th March (the most recent date data is available), down 20 from the week before. In the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals, the proportion of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is down to the lowest level since 17th November (the earliest day for which we have data): 2% (less than half the proportion as recently as 4th March).
  • In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 19th February – shows that 1,150 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (13 people have been added to the total in the most recent week). 189 of these people were from the Stroud district (two more since we last reported). We send our condolences to all affected.
  • Further detail and charts on the above and more are below:

People who have tested positive

Looking week-by-week, you can see that across Gloucestershire the number of people testing positive continues to fall: 154 in the most recent week (to 10th March), compared to 187 in the week to 3rd March and 276 in the week to 24th February. This equates to a rate of 26.4 per 100,000 people (or roughly 1 in every 3,850 people). You can view daily numbers for Gloucestershire on the government’s dashboard. Across Gloucestershire, a total of 22,025 people have now tested positive.

Source: data.gov download – data and chart by Claire Biggs

Looking at Stroud district specifically, 40 people tested positive in the most recent week – to 10th March – down from 61 in the previous week and 88 in the week before that. At time of writing this is a rate of 35 people per 100,000 (or roughly one in every 2,860 people). Numbers of infections continue to fall. The number of people who have tested positive in the most recent week is on track to return to the low levels of September, August, July and June if people continue to follow the guidelines. Across Stroud district, 3,666 people have now tested positive.

Source: gov.uk dashboard – data download

If we look at the age breakdown, it’s clear that positive tests have fallen rapidly among those aged under 60 recently – following a similar sharp decline for those aged 60 and over. There have been some new cases among people aged over 60 recently – which we believe are associated with a care home outbreak which is now under control in Minchinhampton/Amberley – covered in the Stroud News and Journal. The chart below show infections among people aged above 60 are falling again.

Source: gov.uk dashboard

Looking at smaller areas, the government’s map shows much of the district – and surrounding areas – with fewer than 2 positive tests in the week to 9th March (this data is “suppressed” to protext the privacy of individuals when only small numbers of people test positive – but could mean no-one has tested positive. See below for trends by areas of the district (“MSOAs” – “Middle Layer Super Output Areas – a statistical geography). The area with the highest rate of cases in Gloucestershire is Shurdington, Staverton and Witcombe – where the rate is 86.9 per 100,000 over the past 7 days, and infection numbers appear to be rising.

Source: govt interactive map

Below are the charts for trends – you can see how cases are falling in most of the district – up to the 6th March. At that point, cases remained higher/possibly rising rather than low/falling only in Berkeley & Sharpness. There are possible signs of upticks in Cam, Chalford & Bussage, Minchinhampton and Amberley, Upton St Leonards & Hardwicke, and Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood, but these are all from very low base.

Source: gov.uk data download – MSOA API

You can enter your postcode into the government’s dashboard to see this data as a map.

Finally on the number of people with the virus. We know that not everyone can get a test or gets one even if they can. The Kings College London/Zoe Covid-19 symptom study app reports estimates for Stroud district – based on reporting of symptoms by people using the app (of whom there are over 3,000 in Stroud district). Their latest estimate is 168 active cases for the district – up 6 from last week by their measure. The team behind these estimate have recently updated their system. The flat/slightly rising estimate is not a cause for alarm but please continue to take care, keep following the guidance, and do what you can to reduce contacts and support people who need to isolate – we still want to get the infections lower than they are now.

Source: Covid 19 Symptom Study app

Vaccinations

Data from the NHS on vaccinations shows that, in total and as of the 7th March (the most recent available data) there have been 247,347 Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in Gloucestershire (up 27,775 from 219,572 lastt week). Of these, 234,469 are first doses and 12,878 second doses. Based on the 2019 population estimate for the area, these have covered approximately:

  • 45% of the Gloucestershire population aged 16+ has had a first dose (37% of the total population, including people aged under 16 who are not included in current vaccination plans), 2.5% have had a second dose (2% of the total population).
  • This compares to 47% and 2.1% for the South West as a whole.
  • And across England, 42% of the population aged 16+ have had a first dose and 1.8% a second dose.
  • Across Gloucestershire, around 91% of people aged 65-69 have had a first dose, around 96% of people aged 70-74, around 100% of people aged 75-79 and around 99% of people aged 80+. Proportions are calculated against ONS population estimates, which may not be exactly accurate. Nonetheless, vaccination rates in the first priority groups are very high.
  • Across Stroud district, vaccination rates are as follows (as a percentage of people aged 16+, ie the total population that vaccination will be offered to under current plans). Please understand that these percentages are affected by how much of the local population has been eligible for vaccination, and the size of the local population, not necessarily by takeup. They are in alphabetical order only:
    • 42% Berkely & Sharpness
    • 45% Cam
    • 40% Chalford & Bussage
    • 39% Dursley
    • 41% Ebley & Randwick
    • 48% Framptom, Whitminster & Eastington
    • 48% Leonard Stanley & Uley
    • 52% Minchinhampton & Amberley
    • 50% Painswick, Bisley & Eastcombe
    • 41% Rodborough & Thrupp
    • 42% Stonehouse
    • 36% Stroud Town
    • 38% Upton St Leonards and Hardwicke
    • 41% Wotton-under-Edge & Kingswood

People aged 55 and over in Gloucestershire can now book to be vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination sites via this link, as can anyone who meets the criteria for other top priority groups. Making a booking at a mass vaccination site (Gloucester, Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) will not affect whether you receive a GP surgery invite to a local vaccination hub or site in the district. You can cancel bookings at mass vaccination sites via the link (under “manage your bookings”). Please ensure to do this with time for people to take the slot so vaccine isn’t wasted. If you are able to travel to a mass vaccination site, you free up space for people who cannot travel at the local hubs.

People aged 55-60 can wait to receive contact from their GP to be vaccinated at their more local hub – surgeries have largely completed group 6 (people aged 18-65 in an at risk group), and some have started on group 7 (people aged 60-65), 8 (55-60) and even 9 (50-55). Generally, please don’t call your GP surgery to discuss when you will be vaccinated – wait for them to contact you. If you are aged over 65 or believe you are Clinically Vulnerable or a carer for someone who is, you can book via the link above, but if you can’t get to one of the mass vaccination sites (Gloucester is the nearest but is often fully booked and the other sites are in Bristol, Bath, Malvern, Oxford etc) please get in touch with your surgery by email to check you have not been missed. The latest update from Rowcroft provides further information for some local surgeries associated with the vaccination hub there (see image below for breakdown of which surgery is associated with which hub), including for “Rowcroft Patients please be aware that if you are over 60 and have not yet had an invitation for vaccination please now get in touch with us”. Prices Mill surgery update on 10th March says they “hope to commence inviting Priority Group 7 [60-65] for local vaccination next week”.

Dr Mark Porter says that The Vale in Dursley “hope to have given everyone first dose by around end of next month (if all goes well). Currently inviting in vulnerable & people in late 50s for 1st, and higher priority for 2nd.”

Vaccination will then continue to proceed in age groups, which is “the fastest way to cut Covid-19 deaths in the next phase of the rollout, say experts advising the UK government” [the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation].

We understand many people are keen to be vaccinated but please try to be patient, the vaccine rollout is an enormous logistical challenge – 24 million people being vaccinated in 4 months is unprecedented, and GP surgeries are doing this on top of their normal workload. If you have questions about when you’ll be vaccinated please either ask in our Facebook group or email GP surgeries rather than calling them.

The below shows how – nationally – the 12 week gap between first (light blue bars) and second dose (dark blue bars) will mean the number of first doses delivered weekly will fall. However, if capacity continues to increase, first doses will be delivered even as people in the top priority group receive their second doses.The chart shows

  • Everyone in priority group 1-4 offered a 1st dose by mid February
  • Everyone in priority groups 5-9 offered a first dose by end March
  • Everyone in groups 1-4 who received a first dose, receiving their second by early May
  • All adults (16+) having been offered a first dose by early June (with people aged 50-40 in early April, people aged 40-30 in mid April and Early May, and people aged 30-16 in May to early June)
  • Everyone in group 5-9 who received a first dose getting their second dose before Mid-June
  • All adults (16+) who accept invitations to have been vaccinated by early July.

For a description of priority groups see, our previous post / image below.

There continue to be regular updates in our Facebook group about vaccination locally – including from GP surgeries (see the Facebook group topic). If you’ve had your jab recently, please do read advice on continuing to be cautious after receiving your vaccination).

Please continue to ask us questions/raise concerns in our Facebook group and we will signpost to the best information we are aware of and/or pass on concerns as and when appropriate. We have separated out tagging of posts in the Facebook group into posts about local vaccination progress, and posts about the Covid-19 vaccines more generally, the latter including attempts to tackle misinformation.

Hospitals – local, national

The good news is that the number of Covid-19 patients in Gloucestershire hospitals is rapidly falling across General and Acute and Community beds – peaking at 262 on the 6th January and below a tenth of that – 21 patients on the 9th March (the most recent date data is available), down 20 from the week before. Sadly, some of this decline will be due to people in hospital dying – but it is good news that more people are not being admitted, and it seems clear that soon there will be no Covid-19 patients in local hospitals again, as was last the case in September. We wish everyone in hospital with Covid-19 and their loved ones well.

Source: NHS hospital activity

In terms of the proportion of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals (the blue bars only in the chart above), there is good news – the proportion of beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients is down to the lowest level since 17th November (the earliest day for which we have data): 2% on 9th March – half the proportion on 12th February, and a sixth the peak of 29% on 20th January. There is starting to be a little more spare capacity in the hospitals: 7% of beds were unoccupied on 9th March.

Source: NHS hospital activity

Nationally, the number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital has been falling fast – 563 people were admitted on the 10th March (compared to 711 last week). This number is now around a ninth of the peak daily number for this ‘wave’ (4,576 Covid-19 patients were admitted on the 12th January), and well below the first ‘wave’ peak (3,150 on the 7th April), mid-November peak (1,782 patients on 18th November).

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

Because people with Covid-19 tend to stay in hospital for some time, the total number of people with the virus in hospitals remains high – 8,029 on the 11th March. Coming out of the first ‘wave’, it was 7,907 on the 28th June.

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds – some of the sickest patients is also now lower than in the Spring 2020 peak – having peaked at 4,077 patients (on 24th January). There are still 1,110 patients in these beds as of the 12th March (down from 1,449 patients la week earlier). This compares to 3,247 on the 18th April at the height of the spring 2020 peak. We send our best for their recovery.

Source: gov.uk data dashboard

Across the UK, the KCL/ZOE app team estimate around 94,000 people had a symptomtic infection on the 14th March, based on symptom reporting by up to 4.6 million app users. This compares to 120,000 last week and a peak of 806,000 on the 12th January.

Source: KCL/ZOE

The ONS “estimate that 200,600 people within the community population in England had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 180,200 to 222,900), equating to around 1 in 270 people.” in the week to the 6th March.

People who have died with Covid-19

In Gloucestershire, the most recent data – up to the 26th February – shows that 1,150 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (13 people have been added to the total in the most recent week). 189 of these people were from the Stroud district. We send our condolences to all affected.

The data is from registrations of death up to the 26th February, and sadly we know it will continue to rise. Barring dramatic mutations/failures of policy, we should never see the numbers we have seen recently again.

Source: gov.uk dashboard for Gloucestershire deaths

The above data is the best we get on people who have died – from the Office for National Statistics, who report based on what clinicians determine the cause of death to be for death certificates. This data takes time to come in – so the below is only up to the 26th February. It is sobering reading – but the number of deaths continues to fall:

  • “The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 26 February 2021 was 14,281, which was 1,143 higher than the five-year average; of deaths registered in the UK in Week 8, 3,196 deaths involved COVID-19, that is, 1,252 lower than in Week 7.”
  • “The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 26 February 2021 (Week 8) was 12,614; this was 1,195 fewer deaths than in the previous week (Week 7).
  • In Week 8, the number of deaths registered in England and Wales was 9.2% above the five-year average (1,066 deaths higher).
  • Of the deaths registered in Week 8 in England and Wales, 2,914 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, a decrease of 1,165 deaths compared with Week 7.
  • In Week 8, deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 23.1% of all deaths in England and Wales, compared with 29.5% in Week 7.
  • Of the 2,914 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 8 in England and Wales, 2,469 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death (84.7%).
  • In England, the total number of registered deaths decreased from 12,995 (Week 7) to 11,844 (Week 8); total deaths have decreased in all English regions for the second week in a row.

Our previous update discusses the death rate in Stroud district compared to the rest of the country.

For more on the national situation I – as ever – highly recommend the Independent SAGE weekly briefing (1 hr 20 minutes). This week has a data presentation from Dr Christina Pagel that includes a section on Lateral Flow Device testing (around schools in particular) that is really worth watching if you want to understand that – from around 11 minutes in.

International context

Globally, over 2.64 million people have now died with their death attributed to Covid-19 at least in part (subject to different counting methods in different countries). The situation remains concerning – but there is a sign that the number of people dying may be starting to fall, with Our World in Data reporting the number of people to be reported as dying per day (on a 7-day average basis) has been falling dramatically since January 26th (14,402), to 8,545 on March 13th). This is tragically still very high – considerably higher than during Spring 2020 – and there is a long way to go.

In terms of rates of the number of people to have died per million people, the UK remains one of the worst affected countries – based on publicly available data (currently the 5th worst affected of all countries), at 1,852 people per million – behind only Slovenia (1,890 per million), Belgium (1,935 per million), Czechia (2,156 per million) and San Marino (2,269 per million – though obviously a country with a much smaller population than the others). There are caveats about this data as all countries will be using slightly different recording but…

Several countries have much lower death rates, including Estonia (535 per million), Denmark (413 per million), Turkey (349 per million), Finland (142 per million), Norway (118 per million), Bangladesh (52 per million), Australia (36 per million), South Korea (33 per million), Cuba (32 per million), New Zealand (5 people per million), Singapore, China, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Bhutan Mongolia,and Eritrea (all below 5 people per million), and Vietnam, Tanzania, Taiwan and Burundi (all reporting under 1 person per million).

The United Kingdom is doing much better in terms of Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people (37) – behind only a few other countries like Israel (107 – ie, moving into enough doses to cover everyone, but some will be second doses) and United Arab Emirates (66). Globally, the rate is 5 doses per 100 people. There is a real need to plan to improve global vaccination. You can Donate to treat, vaccinate and support people worldwide – which a few members of our Facebook group have reported doing to celebrate getting their own vaccination.

Notes

The core advice remains: please book a test (see full details at the end of this page). You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not. 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. 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. You may be able to receive financial support to self-isolate from Stroud District Council.

Whether or not you have symptoms, please still follow the guidelines to 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. Gloucestershire along with the rest of the country is in National Lockdown – guidance here. 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. I 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.

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.

Local testing:

The County Council have updated their information about how you can book a test locally. You can now do this whether or not you have symptoms. The link will tell you which type of test to book if you have symptoms or not, and where you can pick up testing kits for households with school-aged children.

  • For people with symptoms, there are permanent testing units at Hempsted Meadow in Gloucester, and a walk-in unit in Stratford Park.
  • Without symptoms, there is a site in Gloucester City and one located at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. A third site will be opening in the Forest of Dean on the 10th March.
  • You can pick up a testing kit from the permanent testing units at: Hempsted Meadows, Gloucester; High St Car Park, Cheltenham; and Stratford Park, Stroud.

See this link for details of testing locations in Gloucestershire.