Somerset COVID 19 latest data

I feel we should start this weeks review of COVID 19 with the words “do not panic”. This week, to 5 January, there were 6,618 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Somerset. That represents a significant uptick in case numbers. Up over 50% on last week and by a long way the largest weekly number of new infections for Somerset. Despite the headline case numbers, it is worth digesting all the facts and taking a holistic view of where we are.

The table below tracks the overall weekly number of infections in Somerset in recent weeks.

  • 6,618 to 5 January
  • 4,289 to 29 December
  • 3,130 to 22 December
  • 2,804 to 15 December
  • 2,521 to 8 December
  • 2,534 to 1 December
  • 2,399 to 24 November
  • 2,570 to 17 November
  • 2,283 to 10 November
  • 3,166 to 3 November

This week every district in the patch of Somerset we cover had a caseload over 500 per 100,000 population. The hotspot this week is Taunton once again with 783 new cases up from 489 last week. That’s three consecutive weeks of significant growth in case numbers.

Yeovil has actually seen a significant increase this week to 568 new cases from to 366 last week. The rise in new Bridgwater case numbers took off again this week with 429 new cases compared to just 279 last week. Frome is also showing an acceleration in case numbers. This week there were 365 new cases compared to last week’s 225.

Elsewhere Wellington has had a significantly increased case load. This week there are 362 new cases reported compared to just 135 last week, so more cases than Frome. Chard too saw cases doubling to 149 from 78 last week. Shepton recorded 131 new cases and Wells 106.

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 5 January for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 17 December). 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.

This week there were 11 deaths reported from our region, 9 in hospital and 1 in a care home and 1 at home. This is perhaps the most concerning piece of data to date. It is the biggest single week number of deaths since the spring. However for context, there have been just under 11,000 infections in the past fortnight. As a percentage of cases, the numbers still do not look as significant as they could be. For instance prior to that 5,000 cases a fortnight was a more usual number. That said we offer our sympathies to the family and friends of those who have passed away as a result of the pandemic.

On a more positive note, the numbers in hospital with COVID in Somerset were really very similar to last week. Over the course of the week there were between 25 and 40 people in either Musgrove or Yeovil hospitals. So again more infections but (as yet) no surge in hospitalisations.

The R number is still reported at 0.9-1.1 which as we’ve said before, is not that helpful. With surging numbers over the past 2 weeks, a range that says the trend should be stable does not seem particularly helpful.

So we are back to looking at the unvaccinated part of the population. This is where we see the greatest vulnerability both in terms of infections and passing infection on. Unfortunately, the data was not updated this week either for the first two vaccinations or for the booster. So there’s nothing helpful we can add for now.

As ever here is the full dataset so you can form your own conclusions:

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