Somerset COVID 19 latest situation

Today the latest weekly figures were published for COVID 19 in our county. The headline figures show the total number of cases who have tested positive has risen to 2006 to the 14 October. That represents a rise of 248 since the last figures published on 7 October.

As ever before we continue we should give our usual health warning. What the figures are and what they are not. Unlike NHS data these numbers include care homes and incidences of COVID 19 “at home”. The data is prepared to 14 October for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 2 October). 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.

So what does a total of 248 new cases testing positive in a week mean. It does not mean these are all the cases. People who have not been tested are obviously not included in the numbers. They may very well be COVID 19 positive. But we can only use the data as it is presented and recognise it for what it is.

On the one hand – by recent standards in our county, the number of cases testing positive is a lot. It represents an increase from the 173 new cases last week and the 74 before that. But compare Somerset with 248 cases in a week, with Liverpool where there are 400+ news cases per day….. Suddenly the story looks very different.

This is why Somerset has been rated “medium” risk in the Government’s new 3 tier system. Although it may not sound like it, “Medium” is actually the lowest of the three tiers of restrictions. In essence it keeps to the previously announced “Rule of Six”. You must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. In England, this limit of 6 includes children of any age. Importantly for the hospitality industry this also means venues following COVID secure guidance can stay open. They can also host more than six people in total. But no one must mix indoors in groups larger than 6, unless you all live together, or are in the same support bubble. This includes in:

  • pubs and restaurants
  • shops
  • leisure and entertainment venues
  • places of worship

Back to the data

There is a lot more data this week around the individual outbreaks around the county, but we would have to caution against drawing too many conclusions from that. It is such a fluid situation and the numbers are still very small. With only 248 news cases across the whole county, trying to identify hot spots from one week to the next is creating a hostage to fortune.

There are no new deaths again this week, something to be grateful for and again, this gives some context to the situation in Somerset as against the rest of the country.

What is clear is the number of infections is accelerating rather than stabilising. The R number estimate for the county has been set at between 1.3 and 1.6. Which suggests infection rates are increasing and are going to continue to increase. Following Government advice on mask wearing and social distancing remains important.

The full figures are available here so you can draw your own conclusions

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