There were 476 positive Covid-19 tests carried out on Calderdale residents in the 7- day period 10-16 January 2021. In this 7-day period the rate was 225 per 100,000. This is a fall of 19% since the same day the previous week. Calderdale is ranked 302nd of the 313 English Local Authorities and Sowerby Bridge has the lowest infection rate of all wards in Calderdale. The rate in Calderdale is currently lower than the regional average (260) and the national average (497).
During the second wave of Covid-19, in the Autumn, the case rate peaked at just under 500 in mid-November and reduced to just under 150 in mid-December. The rate has increased in late December before reducing once more from 5th January. The rate is still now 10 times higher than it was at the end of August. The proportion of Calderdale residents who had a test that tested positive in the week to 16th Jan was 9.7% compared to 14.1% nationally.
The UK new variant which is up to 70% more easily spread than the previously dominant strain has driven rapid increases in cases in many parts of the country. We heard on the Prime Minister’s briefing yesterday from Sir Patrick Vallance that emerging evidence indicates a potential increase of 30% in the Case Fatality Rate. The increase in cases in Calderdale in December, and the slower fall in cases in January, suggests more infections involve this UK new variant. In the 7 days between 10-16th January, over half of Calderdale cases were estimated to be the UK new variant.
The rate of cases in people aged 60 and over is currently very high (just under 200 per 100,000) but is reducing in line with the rates in the whole population. Infection rates at this level are likely to place local NHS services under increased pressure in coming days and weeks. Case rates are highest in working age adults and lowest in school aged children.
RATE BY WARD
Rates have been stable or reduced in all but two wards (Brighouse and Ovenden) in the last week. There have been statistically significant reductions in rates in 7 wards (Park, Illingworth and Mixenden, Skircoat, Todmorden, Elland, Warley and Sowerby Bridge). The wards with the highest rates are Park, Northowram and Shelf, Brighouse, Ovenden and Hipperholme and Lightcliffe. Sowerby Bridge ward had by far the lowest number of cases of all wards in Calderdale in the week up to 17th January, with just 5 cases, giving our ward one of the lowest infection rates in the country. This is pleasing but it is important to note that the rate is quite variable and just one day with a large number of cases can push the weekly rate up or down.
Hospital admissions in people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in Calderdale Royal Hospital are now at their highest level since the outset of the pandemic. There were 73 Covid-19 patients in the hospital on 19th January and 10 of these were in intensive care. Sadly, 241 Calderdale residents have died from Covid-19 up to 8th January. Three of these deaths were in the week ending 8th January.
Calderdale’s community testing programme is focusing on people who need to leave the house to do their job. The aim is to identify people without symptoms and support them to isolate, breaking the chain of transmission. The community testing programme has undertaken 5,639 rapid tests so far. In the 7 days ending 15th January 3,802 tests were carried out on schools’ staff, taxi drivers, driving instructors, voluntary and community sector staff and volunteers. This week, it is anticipated that 4,500 tests will be carried out targeting school staff, early years staff, council staff, taxi drivers, driving instructors, voluntary and community sector staff and volunteers and food retail staff.
Across Calderdale and West Yorkshire, we have seen good coverage of the top priority cohorts so far – the over 80s, care home staff/residents, and health and social care workers. We have also begun to vaccinate those over 75, those over 70, and the clinically extremely vulnerable. Yesterday, we reached a pivotal moment in our programme when our Primary Care Networks completed their last visit to our care homes ahead of the national target.
There have been reports about vaccine supplies for Yorkshire being reduced, which has understandably caused anxiety. Our allocations for next week will be lower than this week, but we are still expecting to receive enough supplies to offer vaccinations to meet all those in priority groups 1-4 by mid-February. We have been advised that our total allocation over the period has not changed, but the amount of supplies we receive will vary over the next few weeks. It feels like our region is being penalised for delivering the vaccine quickly, but the government says this is to ensure a fair and equitable spread across the country and to make sure people in the groups at greatest risk (including frontline staff) are all offered a vaccination as quickly as possible. Yorkshire and the North East are further ahead than many other parts of the country and Calderdale is in a particularly strong position being above the regional average for Yorkshire and the North East, thanks to the hard work of everyone involved.