This week to 20 October, there were 4,687 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Somerset. Well if we learned anything this week, it is that numbers are definitely not declining. The case load for the week is the highest we have experienced this year.
The table below tracks the overall weekly number of infections in Somerset in recent weeks.
- 4,687 to 20 October
- 2.195 to 13 October
- 2,260 to 6 October
- 1,876 to 29 September
- 1,453 to 22 September
- 1,432 to 15 September
- 2,148 to 8 September
- 2,132 to 1 September
- 2,763 to 25 August
- 1,911 to 18 August
- 1,481 to 11 August
- 1,407 to 4 August
- 1,285 to 28 July
- 2,056 to 21 July
- 989 to 14 July
- 470 to 7 July
This week there is not point trying to tell you the COVID hotspots. The vast majority of Somerset has a caseload in excess of 500 per 100,000 population.
The highest number of new cases was in Taunton (678) but case numbers were up everywhere. Even Frome where there has been a high incidence of COVID cases in recent weeks has seen case numbers grow from 225 last week to 286 this week. Elsewhere Bridgwater reported 412 new cases and Yeovil 362, case numbers doubling over last week in each case.
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 20 October for cases (although different dates are used for some of the other figures – for instance deaths are reported to 8 October). 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 predicted the number of deaths recorded from COVID 19 remain steady and relatively low. We continue to monitor these figures closely. There were six deaths this week (compared to 4 last week), 4 were in hospital and 2 in a care home.
As we suggested last week, the fall in hospitalisation was largely due to the largest outbreak being in Frome. This is because Frome hospitalisations tend to be taken to RUH in Bath and Somerset reports figures for Musgrove and Yeovil only. This week with larger numbers being in Taunton, Bridgwater and Yeovil, hospitalisations at Musgrove and Yeovil have risen. There are still only 50 people in hospital in those two hospitals with COVID, comparable to the last peak a month ago.
The R number is still reported at 0.9-1.1 which looks much closer to reality than the number reported last week. However as case numbers are rising rapidly now, any number below 1 makes little sense.
The most worrying figures this week remain for vaccinations of the under 18 cohort. This is still proceeding at a snail’s pace. WE have recently reported population data for Somerset that suggests the under 18s are split almost 50:50 between the up to 11s (who would not be vaccinated) and the 12-18s who would. This means we would want to see around 50% of the under 18s vaccinated to get maximum protection for that cohort. Elsewhere in the country, on average just under 60% of 12-18 years olds have had at least one jab. So we should be expecting around 30% of the total under 18 population in Somerset to be vaccinated. At present we have vaccinated just 10%. This appears to be a real concern. It is not clear why the vaccination program isn’t working, but Somerset appears to be a long way behind the rest of the country.
This week 1,150 young people had a vaccination taking the total to 12,000. Which leaves us with something in the order of 45,000 to go.
As ever here is the full dataset so you can form your own conclusions: