Looks like the easing of virus restrictions, half term and the sunny weather has brought many visitors to the City.
There have been no further hospital deaths announced today. There have been no deaths recorded by the York Hospital Trust during the last 3 days.
Eleven positive test results announced today. Brings the cumulative total cases numbers to 12,029
The number of cases in the City has increased by 7 from the 96 recorded yesterday to todays figure of 103.
As forecast, the case rate /100k population figure has started to creep up. It is 48.91 today and could go as high as 53 by Sunday.
The spike in numbers is not as pronounced as was seen when lockdown 2 ended in December.
4184 PCR tests were conducted in York during the week ending 6th March
Of these 1.8% were positive. That is the same proportion as the previous day
3512 “lateral flow” test were also conducted
41 COVID-19 patients are being cared for by the York Hospital Trust (9/3/21)
Eight are in intensive care
The largest increase in case numbers at neighbourhood level has occurred in New Earswick. The area has gone from having one of the lowest infection rates in the City, to having the highest, in only 3 days
For the first time since last summer, the Fulford/Heslington/University neighbourhood has recorded fewer than 3 cases.
It isn’t just York that is seeing a spike in case numbers. The Yorkshire region has crept back above the 100 case rate threshold. Case numbers in North Yorkshire continue to fall.
York reopening plans
The York Council will discuss next week how the City can be safely “reopened” when lockdown restrictions are further eased.
Currently it is hoped that some relaxations will take place on 29th March when the “rule of 6” or two households outdoors will be allowed, (there will be no household mixing indoors), some outdoor sport and leisure facilities will reopen, organised outdoor sport will be allowed (children and adults) and outdoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents) may meet (Travel will be “minimised” and there will be no holidays)
Of more impact for the City economy will be the plans for 12th April (earliest) when changes could include;
- Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.
- Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.
- Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.
- Libraries and community centres.
- Personal care premises (e.g. hairdressers).
- All retail.
- Outdoor hospitality.
- All children’s activities, indoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents).
- Domestic overnight stays (household only).
- Self-contained accommodation (household only).
- Funerals (30), wakes, weddings and receptions (15).
Travel will continue to be “minimised” and there will be no international holidays
In response to the changes outlined in phase two above, the Council is proposing
- To provide temporary public toilets in the city centre during the initial stages of lockdown easing should they be required.
- Extend the Covid Marshalls until the end of June “to facilitate the Covid-safe management of the city”
- Deferral of increased fees for cremations and funeral service recording.
The report goes on to say,
At this stage, it is not recommended that the council commits additional
resource to promoting additional visitors to the city. Given the likelihood of varying rates of infection as a result of wider derestriction, the overarching principle has to be the safety of York’s residents and visitors.
A detailed list of the proposed actions can be read by clicking here
There is a proposal for more “managed open spaces” in the City which include additional seating on Parliament Street together with more “street food”. This could be extended (in May) to the Eye of York, College Green, the Minster school grounds and Tower Gardens.
Deaths and test results
One further death at the York Hospital Trust announced today. The fatality occurred yesterday and takes the total number of COVID 19 related cases to six during the last week
54 (FIFTY FOUR) new positive test results announced today bringing the total to 4152
The case rate in York is stable and below the regional and national average.
Heslington is no longer the neighbourhood with the highest number of cases. The numbers in the City centre neighbourhood and now higher.
The Westfield/Chapelfields/ Foxwood North neighbourhood has seen a gradual increase in case numbers over the last week or so. It now has above the national average number of infections.
The latest demographic data shows the number of positive test results in the City by age group. It shows that the teen and twenty age groups still have the majority of cases but that their infection rate is declining.
Millions of vulnerable people will be sent supplies of Vitamin D by the Government as evidence grows that it helps in the battle against Covid-19 infection. Care-home residents and people shielding because they suffer from conditions such as cancer will be sent enough supplies of the vitamin to last four months, with the first packages due to arrive early next month.
One recent study found that more than 80 per cent of Covid-19 victims admitted to hospital were Vitamin D deficient, compared with a UK average of 25 per cent.Ministers are hoping that greater uptake of the vitamin, along with more effective drug treatments and a viable vaccine, will combine to remove the need for an endless series of rolling lockdowns.
Food help for children in low income families
The government is to spend about £400m to support poor children and their families in England, following a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford. A winter grant scheme, to be run by councils, will provide support with food and bills, and a holiday food and activities programme is to be expanded.
The move represents a significant climbdown for the government, which had argued Universal Credit was enough.
From the package of support, a £170m ring-fenced fund will be distributed through councils until the end of March, with at least 80% earmarked for help with food and bills. The holiday food and activities programme will be expanded with a £210m investment to cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021.
On top of that, there will be a £16m cash boost for the nation’s food banks.
A combination of wet weather and COVID restrictions has meant that York has been quiet once again today.
This may be the last weekend opportunity for a while for traders to attract customers. The prospect of another national lockdown becomes more likely.
Lets hope for a more considered approach by the authorities as they seek to address the effects of the second wave. We don’t need any more poorly considered road and car park closures.
Following on from our story yesterday which plotted how “footfall” was increasing in York an independent organisation has now reported that “spend” is also recovering.
The “Centre for Cities” says that York is just outside the national top ten of centres that are doing well.
York has an index of 97. The best is Bournemouth with 117.
Larger Cities like London and Manchester are doing less well.
The latest footfall camera figures for central York confirm that visitor numbers are steadily increasing.
By the third week in August they had reached over 80% of the figures seen during the equivalent period last year.
The figures for the bank holiday are not yet available but it did appear to be busy in the City last weekend.
Comparisons of numbers for the weekends in the earlier part of the month suggest a slower recovery. This may be due to more people visiting the City during the week as they make the most of the school holidays.
The difficulties in arranging foreign holidays may also have given the City a boost.
There is still some way to go to achieve pre COVID numbers with some traders still suffering from the lack of office workers in the City centre.
Still the resurgence – which is born out by the numbers using the City’s car parks – is probably stronger and quicker than many might have predicted.
NB. Figures from some footfall cameras are unreliable and have been excluded for this analysis.
Pleasant weather brought out the crowds in York today. The numbers in the City centre were comparable to a normal bank holiday. Parts of the market were particularly busy with long queues at several food outlets.
A lot is riding on the future of the City centre economy this week as most shops are now reopening. Shopper numbers yesterday were modest – broadly comparable to the numbers that you might have seen on the streets on a Monday in February.
This may step up as the week progresses and residents realise the choice that is available and that car parking space is easy to find (the Council have not discounted parking charges yet).
The reopening of pubs, cafes, libraries and hairdressers – and a loosening of public transport restrictions – would also bring a boost to visitor numbers although such changes are still some time away. It may be even longer before some major visitor and cultural attractions open their doors.
It will also be a few days before “footfall” figures are available (assuming that the cameras have been switched back on).
Generally, “social distancing” was being observed well by those visitors who did venture out. The City centre is clean and uncluttered. Buskers are out and about again but it will require the authorities to commission background entertainment if a “buzz” is to return to the pedestrian areas.
A resident has written to us about rowdy behaviour in the City Centre this weekend.
Its an issue that has grown in recent years and one that will tarnish the City’s image unless addressed by the authorities.
Firm action is now required.
Next Saturday seeks a local derby football match in the City. That may put additional pressures on policing resources.
The timing of the match doesn’t look to be particularly enlightened.
Its not just the transport systems that have been under pressure in York this weekend.
People have been pointing to issues with street cleansing in the City centre. Can’t be easy for Council staff and the BID team to keep on top of the problems with such high volumes of pedestrians around (not to mention the security zones).
Even in suburban areas we’ve been finding examples of full bins and badly littered streets. All have been reported for Council attention.