Coronavirus York updates; 20th April 2021


There have been no additional deaths announced by the York Hospital Trust today.

The latest fatality stats published today indicate that there were no deaths from COVID-19 involving York residents during the week ending 9th April 2021

Test results

Three additional positive test results today. Brings the cumulative total up to 12,201

The number of cases in the City has fallen from 29 to 24.

The rate /100k population has fallen to 11.40. We expect to see small fluctuations in the rate over the rest of the week.


There are currently no neighbourhoods with a case rate above 50.


54.60% of York residents have now received their first dose of vaccine.

17.6% have received their second dose.


3765 PCR tests were completed during the week ending 15th April 2021

The positivity rate is not yet available

3206 “lateral flow” test were also completed on 19th April.

Regular symptom-free testing helps stop the spread

Regular symptom-free testing is now available to anyone secondary school aged or upwards living or working in York. Making sure you are getting tested regularly helps detect the 1 in 3 people with covid that don’t show any symptoms.

Find more information and book at test online at

As we start to enjoy the new activities available it’s important that we all get tested regularly. If you’re going shopping, visiting a public place or meeting up with friends, getting tested can help keep you all safe.

Registering for symptom-free testing is easy, you can currently book a test at one of the four testing sites in York:

·         York St John University

·         the University of York

·         York Community Stadium

·         Foxwood Community Centre

You can also order at-home testing kits online and collect them (by appointment) from one of our testing sites.

Testing is voluntary, it will help you make informed decisions to help keep you, your family and friends as safe as possible, and help protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

You should not book a rapid test if you have coronavirus symptoms or you’re self-isolating, instead visit, or telephone 119.


The number of in patients being treated by the York Hospital Trust continues to decline

Easier to be transparent! Auditors criticise York Council

Its over a year since the York Councils last Chief Executive – Mary Weastell – retired. It was thought to be the end of what had been an awkward relationship.

An auditor’s report from Mazers, issued yesterday, criticises the process used to approve the terms of the early retirement.

We said over a year ago that details of settlements (anonymised to protect the privacy of individuals) should be published.

That still does not happen in York.

What happened after the May 2019 elections is the subject to varied interpretations.

However, very soon after the poll Mary Weastall went absent on sick leave.

It appears that negotiations about her future then extended over a 12 month period.

There were (unsubstantiated) allegations of bullying while the Council said that it wanted to reduce ongoing costs by doing away with the post of Chief Executive.

In turn this attracted what is known as a public interest report from the Councils external auditors. In essence taxpayers had claimed that an estimated £400,000 (actual £377,115) pay off given to the departing Chief Executive was excessive.  Most of the money went on pension contributions.

The auditors are critical of Keith Aspden for not declaring a personal interest at the (private) meeting which determined the payment to be made to the former Chief Executive. They confirm that this was not a pecuniary interest as Councillors have access to public liability insurance cover.

(Mazers fall short of their own standards when quoting from a 2017, supposedly independent investigators report, which subsequently turned out to be far from “independent”. It was considered at a public meeting – at Cllr Aspden’s request – on 3rd January 2019. They also omit to mention that the bogus investigation cost taxpayers over £100,000 and Cllr Aspden £20,000 himself)

The auditors confirm that the former Chief Executive was kept on full pay throughout her sick leave absence. Her contract provided only for 6 months on full pay followed by 6 months on half pay. The difference amounts to £18,165.

The auditors also say that of the £377,115  “exit package” only £286,452 was statutory. The Council had a choice about whether to pay the remaining £90,663 which was labelled as “redundancy” and “ex gratia”.

The auditors recommend,

  1. The Council should adopt and apply appropriate standards for business case preparation in relation to exit and pension discretions to improve information supporting decisions.
  2. Decision notes should be maintained that document the factors that explain the case for the use of public funds under the scheme of delegation such as where payments exceed contractual entitlements.
  3. The Council should review the design of its governance policies and procedures to manage conflicts of interest (including self-interest threats). This should include updating the Council’s constitution and scheme of delegation.
  4. The Council should ensure all Members fully understand the requirements of the Code of Conduct in relation to declaration of interests.
  5. The Council should review its policies and procedures to reflect Government guidance in the use of non-disclosure agreements.

The Council has said that it accepts the recommendations and will act to changes its procedures.

We will see.

Carousel faces uncertain future in York

It seems that, once again, York’s traditional Carousel ride may struggle to find a pitch if coronavirus restrictions are eased next month.

The ride proved to be very popular before Christmas when it was located on Parliament Street.

So far, “Make it York” has failed to guarantee its traditional location on Kings Square where food stalls are being given priority.

There is adequate alternative space available on St Sampson’s Square and Parliament Street although, so far, Make it York has allocated the site near Marks and Spencer’s for use by a drinkers tent.

We think it would be a shame if this family attraction was ditched in favour of the alcohol economy.

“Make it York” should agree an appropriate site with the Carousel owners.