Somerset COVID 19 latest data

In the last week, to 16 March, there were 5,966 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Somerset. That is a doubling in case numbers in just one week. Remember the last figures we reported were similar but for a 2 week period. This leaves the weekly COVID infection numbers in Somerset among the highest in the country. We would never want to leap to conclusions on the evidence of one week of data, but these figures are worrying.

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

  • 5.966 for 1 week to 16 March
  • 6,033 for 2 weeks to 9 March
  • 3,368 to 23 February
  • 4,213 to 16 February
  • 5,631 to 9 February
  • 10,133 to 2 February
  • 5,393 to 26 January
  • 4,558 to 19 January
  • 6,476 to 12 January
  • 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

After a brief respite last week, every area of the county now has infection rates above 500 per 100,000 population. And the case load has increased significantly in the larger towns of Somerset. Today it was announced that Somerset County Council would allow care workers with COVID to continue working. That reflects the prevalence of the virus in the population. And a risk assessment that says the risk of spreading COVID is now considered secondary to teh risk of being unable to provide any care at all.

Once again the hotspot is Taunton with 930 cases reported. That is nearly double the 517 we last reported just last week. In Bridgwater, cases have risen by half, so not as steeply as in Taunton. Nevertheless there were 377 new cases reported compared with 273 last week. Similarly in Yeovil cases have risen rapidly to 462 reported this week compared with 324 reported last week. Frome has escaped the extreme highs and lows of infection until recently. But last week numbers doubled to 211 new cases reported compared with 107 the week before.

There were steep rises in case numbers in Chard too with 136 new cases reported compared with just 88 last week. Similarly in Wellington the numbers have risen to 182 cases reported this week compared with 120 last time around.

In Crewkerne numbers have generally been lower but here too there were rises. 89 reported this week compared with 52 the last time we reported. Numbers had been low in Wells but here they trebled within a week, from 28 last time around to 89 this week.

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 16 March for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 4 March). 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 just 4 deaths reported. 2 deaths was in hospital, 2 in a care home setting. However this will tend to reflect the lower rates on infection experienced over the past 3 or 4 weeks. The impact in the sudden rapid rise in cases is unlikely to translate into an increase in deaths for a couple of weeks at least.

The most worrying aspect of this weeks COVID figures has been the significant increase in hospitalisations. The most recent peak in people in Yeovil or Taunton hospitals with COVID was in October 2021. Then there were 90 people between the two hospitals with COVID. In the past week the numbers admitted to hospital with COVID 19 has risen rapidly to end the week with 130 people in hospital. This is now as high as at any time since the pandemic began. That is again of concern. The assumption had been that despite high infection levels, because the Omicron variant was less severe, hospitalisations would be lower. That no longer looks a certainty.

The R number has been reduced again to 0.9-1.2 this week. For once that seems to reflect what is happening on the ground. It does suggest numbers should be rising and they certainly are.

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

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