Somerset COVID 19 latest Situation

Tomorrow we expect to enter another lockdown for a month. In our November edition, published next week we’ll analyse what went wrong and why. For now the latest COVID 19 figures have been released for the period to 4 November/. Bear in mind that last week’s figures were 8 days to 29 October. By contrast these figures are 6 days to 4 November. So whereas the 29 October figures looked worse than they were, the figures to the 4 November are effectively understated.

But before we look at the figures, if you haven’t followed our reporting before, please read this paragraph carefully. It is important to understand what these figures are, and just as important, what they are not. Unlike NHS data these numbers include care homes and incidences of COVID 19 “at home”. The data is prepared to 4 November for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 23 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.

That said the numbers this week are not great. for the 6 days to 4 November a further 424 cases have been identified. That compares with 457 cases for the 8 days to 29 October. So the number is high (when compared with numbers for Somerset over the past 6 months), but actually it is accelerating if you average them out across the same time period.

If instead of looking at the hard numbers of cases, you look at the table of cases/100,000 people, using a 7 day rate (so the numbers are properly comparable) the last 4 weeks have shown a steady rise: 38 45 65 79 This is concerning, not because the numbers in our county are high, but because the trend is showing a steady growth. Even so again for context, it is important to remind our readers that in Liverpool rates had fallen last week to just 471/100,000. We are a long long way from that situation.

Interestingly the R number has fallen from last week. However we have to caveat that by noting that R numbers for an area as small as Somerset are likely to be unreliable. Getting a handle on the R number for a region, is, even the statisticians admit, a bit of a guess.

Equally we suggest that trying to draw too many conclusions from the number of live cases in each district of Somerset is unwise. So although the figures are presented in the data set (see below) we would recommend not paying too much heed to them. The numbers vary greatly and do not tell you a great deal. If the purpose is to suggest some parts of the county are to be avoided, then that would be silly. Even in the worst hit parts of the county the number of cases may be rising, but remains at a fraction of the numbers in the north of England.

Sadly there was another death this week, recorded as an “in hospital” death of a patient from Mendip. It remains a fact that deaths are mercifully rare in our county. This is the 209th death recorded as being a result of COVID 19. That is the 10th death since 26th June.

As ever we have uploaded the complete dataset so that our readers can draw their own conclusions.

As ever we can only advise readers to follow the government rules. Stay safe, wear a mask and be considerate of other people.

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