COVID 19 – latest Somerset figures

This week (to 16 December) there have been a further 672 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Somerset. It serves as a good lesson. Don’t read too much into one week’s data! As the table below shows the number of infections has been steady for weeks:

  • 672 to 16 December
  • 492 to 9 December
  • 517 To 2 December
  • 507 To 25 November
  • 779 To 19 November
  • 521 To 11 November

The figures suggest that the number of new cases of COVID are not falling. On the other hand they are not accelerating in volume either.

Before we go any further however, our usual health warning about the figures.  Unlike NHS data these numbers include care homes and incidences of COVID 19 “at home”. The data is prepared to 9 December for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 27 November). The reason for this delay is to keep the numbers accurate – or should we say as accurate as possible. 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.

As you’ll see the R number quoted by Government for the South West is 0.8-1.0. We remain sceptical of these numbers. Firstly the range has been reduced from last week’s 0.7-1.0 but the top number is unchanged. The range is actually very significant. 0.8 would see the number of cases falling away. 1.0 would suggest a steady and regular number of infections each week. And figures for confirmed cases over the past few weeks for Somerset, suggest 1 is more likely than 0.8.

Meanwhile the number of recorded deaths within 28 days of a COVID 19 diagnosis in our county was 11. Remember this is the figure to 4 December. That compares to 15 for the previous week. Of the latest deaths recorded, 6 were in hospital and 5 in a care home.

This week we took a look at the testing regime in Somerset. Test and trace being a key part of government’s prevention strategy. It was interesting to see that locally just 2% of the population are being tested. There is very little variation between the different districts of Somerset. in Mendip it is 2% in Somerset West & Taunton 2.7%. It does still look wholly inadequate. Especially now that we have had 4,834 new cases since the first week of October. In isolation that does not sound like a large number. Especially when compared to other parts of the country. But bear in mind this. From the start of the pandemic in March to the end of September there were just 1,758 new cases in Somerset.

Anyway as ever we are attaching the full data set so our readers can form their own judgements.

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