Somerset COVID 19 latest data

In the last week, to 30 March, there were 6,606 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Somerset. That is the third week in succession with exceptional numbers of COVID 19 infections. As many commentators have noted, we do have to live with the pandemic. Constant shut downs are clearly not an option. But there is a middle ground. Using hand sanitisers and wearing masks are not a big imposition to keep infections at bay. Yet the majority of the population have abandoned the idea. Even in environments where you are urged to wear masks (eg on public transport) people don’t.

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

  • 6,606 for the week to 30 March
  • 7,677 for the week to 23 March
  • 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

Once again, every area of the county has infection rates above 500 per 100,000 population. And the case load has increased significantly in the larger towns of Somerset.

The hotspot remains Taunton where 1,104 new cases have been reported. In Bridgwater, cases numbers have stabilised, albeit at a high level. There were 538 cases reported this week compared to 561 last week. Similarly in Yeovil cases have followed a similar pattern with 692 cases this week, compared with 697 reported last week. And also in Frome with numbers rising marginally to 346 cases compared to 336 new cases reported last week.

In Chard things remain steady with 137 new cases this week against 147 last week and 136 new cases the week before.

In Crewkerne numbers have generally been lower until the 120 reported last week. This week the number reported fell back to 99 cases. In Wells there was a big fall in caseload with 98 reported this week compared to 142 new cases last week.

Whilst the large numbers are concerning, the most important figures to focus on are deaths and hospitalisations. This is what will tell us much more about living with COVID.

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 30 March for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 18 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 6 deaths reported. 4 deaths was in hospital, 2 “other. As we’ve said before this will tend to reflect the lower rates of infection of the past 3 or 4 weeks. Although there has been no sudden rise in death rates, it is probably still too early to draw conclusions.

Once again the most worrying aspect of this weeks COVID figures has been hospitalisations. NHS statisticians are at pains to point out that these are for people in hospital who have COVID. However they are not necessarily in hospital because of COVID. Many may be in hospital for something different, but happen to have COVID too. The problem is that this is anecdotal. Until public bodies actually split out the data into something more meaningful, we can only guess at the significance.

Hospitalisations reported continue to rise rapidly. By the ned of this week they had reached 180 between Yeovil and Musgrove. Last week there were between 140 and 160 people in hospital compared with a previous high of 90 in October last year.

The R number has been increased again to 1.1-1.4 this week. That does seem to reflect what is happening on the ground. It does suggest numbers should be rising and they certainly are.

More positive news on the vaccination front is that some progress has now been made vaccinating the under 18s. 85% of the 16-17 year old cohort have now had at least one vaccination. And 75% of the 12-15 year old cohort too. And in the over 18 population, 94% have now had two jabs or more.

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

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