Somerset COVID 19 latest data

In the last week, to 6 April, there were 4,636 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Somerset. As many commentators have noted, we do have to live with the pandemic. Constant shut downs are clearly not an option. But equally it is clear that the levels of infection remain exceptional. Even after three successive weeks of falling case numbers in Somerset. Taking the long view since Christmas, there has been no definitive tailing off in the pandemic. As there was for instance this time last year.

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

  • 4,636 for the week to 6 April
  • 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. At least case loads this weeks have been falling around the county. But as the table above shows, it is far too early for optimism. And it still looks as if government advice around relaxing restrictions on mask wearing and hand sanitising, was premature.

The hotspot remains Taunton where 765 new cases have been reported. This is down significantly from 1,104 last week. Yeovil too saw a large fall in numbers, 495 new cases compared with 692 reported last week. In Bridgwater, cases numbers have also fallen, if not so dramatically. There were 418 cases reported this week compared to 538 last week. And also in Frome. Here cases have always tracked significantly below the other big towns. However this week the number of new cases reported fell by a third, to 247 cases compared to 346.

In Chard there was a modest fall with 117 new cases reported against 137 last week. Similarly in Crewkerne where numbers have generally been lower. This week there were 79 new cases reported compared to 99 cases last week. In Wells there was another big fall on small numbers. 62 new cases were reported compared with 98 last week and 142 the week before.

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 6 April for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 25 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.

The numbers of infections have remained significant for four months. However the most important figures to focus on are deaths and hospitalisations. This is what will tell us most about living with COVID. This week there were 3 deaths reported. 1 deaths was in hospital, 2 in a care home. Any death is a personal tragedy, and our heart goes out to the families of those who have died. That said, as things stand the number of deaths reported has not reflected the large number of infections. This is encouraging. Although there has been no sudden rise in death rates, it is probably still too early to draw conclusions.

However the figures for hospitalisations continue to provide the biggest challenge to living with COVID 19. As far as we have been able to ascertain, neither Yeovil nor Musgrove hospital has been overwhelmed. Neither have moved to black alert (indicative of an inability to take more patients). That said hospitalisations of people with COVID 19 continue to rise rapidly. By the end of this week they had reached 225 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.

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.

The R number has been reduced to 1.0-1.3 this week. That suggests case numbers should still be rising, and yet we know they have fallen significantly this week.

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

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One comment

  • Scotland has maintained Covid restrictions longer than England – with no discernible effect on infection rates so your comment that England was premature in lifting restrictions is not borne out by experience. The simple fact to be remembered is that restrictions were put in place to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed as a consequence of the virus, not to prevent transmission of infection per see. Now that we have a very effective vaccination programme with widespread protection that is severely inhibiting the worst consequences of the virus, it is right that we seek to return to as normal a life as we can as quickly as we can.

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