As we head towards the end of August we are now approaching nearly six months of trying to live with this deadly virus and the number of cases across the district are starting to rise again ☹, so we must continue to take extra care and be vigilant at all times.
The increase in incidents and outbreaks across the region are not unexpected given the relaxation of restrictions and shielding measures and the increased movement of people in general, but we all know by now what we must all do to stop the spread of infection.
The Outbreak Control Plan and local implementation plans in Warwickshire are standing up to the increase in activity, and each unique incident or outbreak is being used to inform adaptations to the plans in real time.
Across the areas the Public Health teams are responding to an increasing number of single cases in workplace or other settings, as well as outbreaks where they occur. Warwickshire has already recorded some positive approaches by several businesses that received outbreak management letters, who have not only responded very proactively to positive test results, but have also reviewed their actions with Public Health Warwickshire and contributed to improved practices in managing workplace cases.
Warwickshire has also gone live this week on a ‘backward contact tracing’ project in Nuneaton and Bedworth, whereby officers speak to people with positive test results to track backwards through their movements to look for potential infection points.
This should provide a different avenue for exploring infection patterns than the national contact tracing model, which focuses on who a person with a positive test result might have infected. Learning from these pieces of work will be shared across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire and with the national programme to inform good practice development.
The prospect of pupils returning to schools has prompted recent widespread interest in how test and trace links to education. Work is very well established with schools already, and local teams have been working with them to manage positive tests and outbreaks right throughout the lockdown period, as well as advising on aspects of school risk assessments. No new work needs putting in place to prepare for the reopening of schools, but WCC will increase targeted messaging to address some of the questions being raised.
The cumulative cases across the county are now 2695 up from 2622 with confirmed cases in Stratford on Avon District increasing by 10 to 542 since last week with evidence that the increase in cases are coming from the community (Pillar 2) rather than Pillar 1 (hospitals and NHS settings). Across Warwickshire the community increases appear to be more prominent within the 20 years to 59 years age groups which reinforces the importance of maintaining a social distance when out and about and for those who can and are not exempt from wearing face coverings and masks to do so in public places where advised.
Out of the 423 SWFT Hospital Beds there is one inpatient cases of COVID-19 at present and NO patients are in the intensive care unit. The cumulative deaths across Stratford District remains at 168 with the deaths in care home remaining at 82 from a cumulative of 1010 ‘all cause deaths’ in the district. The cumulative total of all COVID-19 deaths in Warwickshire is now 595 (up four over the week) and over the same period there have been 3394 non COVID-19 related deaths in Warwickshire. Across the county there has been a total of 211 COVID-19 deaths in care homes settings (no increase in the last week) compared to 1167 ‘all cause deaths’ in care homes over the same period.
The capacity in hospitals remains excellent with one bed occupied by COVID-19 patients. There are 49% of beds occupied by Non-COVID-19 patients, 10% beds occupied with suspected COVID-19 patients and a spare capacity of 40% reinforcing that the NHS is getting back to business!
In the wake of the various spikes of coronavirus infections in neighbouring regions the message is very clear … DO NOT BE COMPLACENT AND TAKE EVERY CARE TO KEEP SAFE.
Let’s all keep focused together to keep the numbers of cases down.
Warwickshire County Councillor for Wellesbourne Division
Ward Member for Wellesbourne East