There have been no further hospital deaths announced today. It is now a week since the last fatality
There have been eight positive test results announced today. They bring the cumulative total to 12,261. This includes 14 positive results recorded at tests undertaken on Monday. This is the highest single day total recorded since 25th March.
The latest confirmed figures (23/4/21) show a drop of 2 cases in the City to 46. It will be Saturday before the latest spike in positive test results affects the 7 day average count.
The rate /100k population is now 21.84. It is expected to remain stable before increasing to 25.6 later in the week.
Rather than reflecting the gradual reduction in case numbers seen last spring, we now seem to be seeing an increase in infections which more closely reflects the pre Christmas wave.
Infection levels have fallen slightly at all levels. However, on the following trajectory, the infection rate in York will go above the national average during the next few days.
There are now eight neighbourhoods with more than 3 cases in each.
- 4453 PCR tests were conducted during the week ending 23rd April 2021
- Of these, 0.7% were positive. That represents a reduction on the previous days proportion which was 0.8%
- In addition, 1885 lateral flow tests were conducted on 27th April
EARLIER: The steady rise on COVID-19 case numbers in the City over the last couple of weeks prompts questions about the effectiveness of the testing programmes.
A key aspect of the return to “normality” was to have been the early identification of spikes in infection rates. This was to be done by the general roll out of “lateral flow” testing to all asymptomatic residents. There are now 4 sites in York offering this service with the option also available to take a testing kit home. Results are produced very quickly and any positives result in the individual being referred for a (more reliable) PCR test.
Initially, when the service was rolled out to coincide with the general return to school on 8th March, there appeared to be a good uptake of the tests. The most recent available data, published by the York Council suggests, that there were 7 school aged children with the disease.
Around 3,500 lateral flow tests were being conducted each day during March according to government figures.
On 29th March restrictions were eased further with family groups able to meet outdoors and some outdoor sports restarted. The number of lateral flow tests conducted fell by around 30% during late March early April. By 4th April fewer than 2000 tests were being conducted each day.
Case numbers in York bottomed out on 6th April when 19 cases were recorded (7 day moving average). They have edged upwards since then and currently stand at 48 (22/4/21).
On 12th April there was a more significant easing of restrictions with shops and hairdressers reopening. Outdoor hospitality, including pubs with outdoor tables, was also permitted to operate.
The number of lateral flow tests completed returned to around 3000 per day.
The Council has not published figures showing how many tests are being conducted in different parts of the City. They do, however, say “that as at 20.4.21 the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 Lateral Flow Tests only) was 0.12%. The national and regional averages are 0.1% and 0.2% respectively“.
The latest PCR test positivity rate is 0.8%. That is up from the low of 0.4% seen on 15th April.
The number of PCR tests being conducted is currently averaging around 4000 per day.
The current increase in infection levels may be less of a concern than the similar spikes that have been seen during the last year. Most vulnerable people have now been vaccinated. The York Hospital now has relatively few COVID-19 cases (although it is reporting an increase from 6 to 8 patients today). Infections are largely confined to the under 60 age groups who are less at risk of developing life threatening symptoms.
The authorities do, however, now need to provide more information about the take up of tests at neighbourhood level and what they are doing to increase the numbers. They originally recommended that everyone take a test twice a week. Clearly that isn’t happening.
Similarly “test and trace” data should be giving an indication of where transmission is most likely to take place. In the past this has been predominantly through family group contact but – in the light of the recent surge in cases at a distribution warehouse in Selby – more details of the background of the 48 current York cases should be published.
Not least residents will want to know how many are asymptomatic?
People can then make an informed choice about whether to visit locations which may be linked to case number increases.
The next easing of restrictions is due to take place on 17th May, when spectators may be allowed into sporting events and a further range of businesses will reopen. Travel will be easier and socialising will increase.
It would be perverse if this were to happen against a background of increasing infection rates and the uncertainty of how new virus variants may impact on survival rates.