Somerset COVID 19 figures
This last week saw the number of confirmed COVID 19 cases in Somerset reach 4,404. The increase on the week to 11 November is 779 cases. This latest case count is significant. In the 5 months to 31 August, the total number of cases in Somerset stood at 1,390. That included the whole of the initial spike in cases in the spring . In the 10 weeks since then, there have been a further 3,014 new cases. That is not any reason to either panic or over-react.
Somerset’s infection rate remains one of the lowest in the country. Whilst that may put the current case load into perspective but…. There is always a “but”. The fact is that the rate of cases/100,000 in Somerset has now trebled in the last month.
But before we move on, please bear with us as we give our health warning on what these figures represent, and what they do not represent. 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, we can return to the latest figures. It is sad, but sadly not surprising that the number of deaths is now rising again. Given that 68% of the total cases in Somerset have occurred in the last 10 weeks, the rise in deaths was expected. in the week to 6 November a further 6 people died of COVID 19, all in hospital. This takes the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Somerset since the start of the pandemic to 219. Not a large total, especially when compared with some regions of England. But it is sad nevertheless.
Once again the deaths seem to be hitting Sedgemoor disproportionately. Of the 219 deaths, 77 have been residents of Sedgemoor. Indeed four of the six deaths in the week to 6 November were residents of Sedgemoor.
The South West continues to have the highest estimated R number in the UK. In a range of 1.2-1.4 for the week to 13 November. To some extent this is reflected in the rising number of cases.
We have given our thoughts on the current lockdown in our editorial in our November edition of The Leveller. However, whatever the pros and cons of lockdown, the public health message remains important. Social distancing, wearing masks and keeping to good basic hygiene remain a priority. It is clear that the disease will not simply die out any time soon. And questions remain around the timing and implementation of any vaccine program.
Meanwhile for those of you who want to see the detail and draw your own conclusions, you can download the figures here