Somerset & COVID 19 – cautious optimism

There is more good news in the latest data released by Somerset County Council for COVID 19 infections and deaths.

But first our usual health warning about the figures. Unlike NHS data this includes care homes and incidences of COVID 19 “at home”. The data is prepared to 11 August (although different dates are used for some of the figures). The reason for this delay is to keep the numbers accurate. The daily totals published by the NHS are subject to constant revision, as not unreasonably, the data is constantly being updated to improve accuracy. It is also worth noting that the SCC area does not include North Somerset (so Weston hospital) or BANES (So the RUH in Bath) both of which are separate administrative areas.

This week (although bizarrely the SCC figures released are for 6 days not 7) there have been a further 14 cases of COVID 19 identified in our area. This is comparable with the 12 new infections identified in the last weekly data. It suggests the outbreak in Somerset is tailing off.

There has been one further death, taking the total to 202 since the start of the outbreak in Somerset. The figure for deaths is published for the 7 days to 31 July. That meant in the whole of July only two deaths were recorded in Somerset. For comparison, at the height of the pandemic Somerset was recording 29 deaths in a single week. However that will be no consolation to the families of those who have lost loved ones in the last month. As ever we offer our sympathy and condolences.

Whilst this all appears to be heading in the right direction, the “R” number for Somerset remains in the range of 0.8-1.1. Whilst the figure is notoriously inexact, it is still of concern. In a few weeks we expect school children will be returning. If the true R number is actually closer to 1.1 than 0.8, then there is a real risk of the pandemic taking off again.

We continue to urge all residents to follow government advice, wear masks inside shops and closed spaces and especially on public transport. Social distancing remains necessary and a sensible precaution.

As ever we have included the full data set from SCC so readers can see for themselves and form their own judgements:

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