There have been no further Coronavirus deaths in the York hospital today.
There were 56 (FIFTY SIX) additional positive test results announced today. This is the smallest number for some days. The total number of COVID infections in the City has now reached 3072
The 7 day moving average, per 100k population, peaked at 307.2 on Sunday before showing a small fall.
We are currently seeing on average around 80 additional cases in the City each day
The neighbourhood profile has changed little over the last week with Heslington having around 3 times more cases than the next worst affected neighbourhood (Tang Hall).
The least affected neighbourhood is now Poppleton/Rufforth/the Askhams which, with 5 cases, is below the national average.
The government has also updated its stats on the number of Pillar 2 tests carried out in the City in the period up to 14th October. As expected, the additional capacity introduced at the Heslington testing site has increased the number of tests undertaken. As the graph below demonstrates, the percentage of positive rule continues to rise but is still below 1 in 5.
Other information not yet available
Employment and business grants improved
The government has announced changes to business and jobs support arrangements today.
Cash grants of up to £2,100 a month will be given to firms in Tier 2 areas – enough for all affected hospitality, accommodation and leisure premises.
They will be retrospective, so any region which has been under enhanced restrictions can backdate their claim to August
For self-employed people, the size of the grant they can access will also be doubled to £3,750 – with the amount of average profits they can claim for rising from 20% to 40%.
And there will be changes to the Job Support Scheme, which is for companies experiencing lower demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Employees will only need to work 20% of their normal hours – instead of the original 33% – to be eligible.
And the government will significantly reduce the amount employers have to contribute – from 33% to 5%.
The government has announced it is allocating £1 billion of additional support to help local authorities get through the winter. City of York Council is to £941,155 of that money.
There has been a further COVID related death at the York Hospital Trust. It occurred on Monday
Unfortunately today sees a record high number of new cases announced. There were 142 (ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTY TWO) additional positive test results today.
That means that there have been a total of 3016 cases in the City.
The 2000 case milestone was passed as recently as the 8th October.
The rate per 7 days peaked at 91.86 on Sunday. The trend is still upwards but is not as steep as seen earlier in the month.
The infection rate per 100k population has peaked at 305.30 (Sunday). This is higher than the regional and national averages.
The university area still has the highest rate of York neighbourhoods.
The University of York said that as of yesterday (Tuesday), it was aware of 304 individuals within the university community who were currently self-isolating because they had had a positive Covid-19 test.
It said the university had about 4,500 members of staff and a student body of around 18,000.
York St John University said, as of yesterday, 57 members of its community were currently self-isolating because they had had a positive Covid-19 test, adding: “Close contacts have been identified and advised to self-isolate.”
York launches local contact tracing system
City of York Council is launching a new local test and trace system to help people who have recently tested positive and aid in the city’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
Following extensive lobbying efforts, the Council has been working with the national test and trace system to establish the service, which from tomorrow (Thursday 22 October) will see the local public health team contact those the centralised system has been unable to.
People contacted will be advised to isolate, talked through the local support available when isolating, and asked about details of their close contacts so these can then be followed up by the national team.
The service will run Monday to Friday initially, increasing over the coming weeks to a seven day service, with residents being contacted using a local (01904) phone number. Text messages will also be sent to people with mobile phones telling them to expect a call. If this is still unsuccessful, then a home visit will be made, and if no-one is at home, a letter with details of how to contact the team will be delivered to those advised to isolate, following Covid-19 guidelines.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council and Chair of the York Outbreak Management Advisory Board said:
“Together with partners across the city we have been lobbying the Government to provide capacity to establish a localised tracing program to support the national system, which unfortunately continues to fall short of expectations.
“Where contact tracing has been localised in other parts of the country it has been hugely successful in reaching more of those who have contracted coronavirus quickly, helping to slow the spread of the virus. Our trained contact tracers will contact those the national system have been unable to, and this work will be invaluable in helping to keep our city safe and open.
“I want to thank everyone who has engaged with the test and trace system so far and followed advice to self-isolate. We all appreciate how challenging this year has been, and we must work together to support our businesses, schools and key workers, and ensure that our collective effort and the sacrifices made by so many do not go to waste.
“Our public health teams are doing an excellent job, but it’s also the personal responsibility of each and every one of us to keep our city and people safe and the places we love open by ensuring that we follow the public health advice.”
Sharon Stoltz, Director for Public Health at City of York Council said:
“Test and Trace is one of the key methods to support the lowering of transmission rates and keeping York residents safe. Our local contact tracers will work with the national Test and Trace to find those who have tested positive but have not responded to the National Test and Trace calls. The more people we contact, the lower we can bring the rate of transmission. This also helps us gather local intelligence, which enables us to provide a more effective response to the spread of the virus.
“We all have a role to play in keeping the people we love safe and the places we love open. Self-isolating when you have symptoms or are told to by test and trace and Hands Face Space are some of the key things we can all do for each other.
“Support is available for those who are self-isolating by contacting our helpline on 01904 551550 or emailing COVIDemail@example.com and I want to thank everyone who has, is and will self-isolate when asked to do so, it really does make a difference.”
There have been no further hospital deaths in York today. However an additional death in a care home has been registered (7th Oct) bringing the cumulative total there to 81.
There have been an additional 101 (ONE HUNDRED AND ONE) positive test results announced today. That brings the cumulative total to 2874
The rate per 100k population figure peaked at 295.48 on Friday. That is higher than the rates at regional and national level.
It may be worth remembering, though, that the rate in the majority of neighbourhoods is at, or below, the national average. It is the Heslington & Tang Hall areas that push the City into the Tier 2 restriction category
64% of positive test results are being recorded by people aged under 30.
Outbreak Management Board meeting tomorrow
A meeting of the City’s Coronavirus Outbreak management board takes place tomorrow. Its agenda has been published (click)
The meeting will receive a background report which will confirm that case numbers in York are now above both regional and national rates.
The meeting will also hear areporton communications. The presentations makes no mention of the big question – a lack of information on key issues like health capacity & or positivity percentages by neighbourhood.
It does, however, offer a glimpse of responses on some questions posed during the Councils “big conversation” survey.
Likely to be of particular interest, will be the report from the 4 higher/further education establishments in the City.
It says that they have 404 active positive cases across staff and students, resulting in around 3,000 students needing to self isolate in either their University or college accommodation, or in private homes across the City.
The Universities don’t seem to have any further initiatives to offer as they struggle to stem the spread of the virus.
If cases continue to increase, then it is possible that the campus and student accommodation units will be subject to greater quarantine restrictions or that they may have to close altogether for several weeks.
The meeting will also hear of plans for a local contact tracing initiative (click)
A further COVID related death was recorded by the York Hospital Trust on Saturday. That takes the total number of fatalities to 10 since the 3rd October.
The numbers are still lower than were recorded during April and May earlier in the year. The table below shows the distribution by neighbourhood during the first wave of infections. This is influenced by the location of hospitals, care homes etc.
There have been a further 87 (EIGHTY SEVEN) new positive test results announced today. This brings the total, since the start of the pandemic, to 2773. The rate per 100,000 population peaked at 289.64 last week. That figure is higher than the regional or UK average. Although still increasing, the infection rate is now showing signs of stabilising.
The government is now only publishing the neighbourhood infection figures 5 days in arrears. We can now monitor trends. The principle area of concern remains the University/Heslington/Fulford neighbourhood.
Council say we won’t go into Tier 3 restrictions
Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health, said;
“We are aware of media speculation that York could soon move to tier 3.
There are currently no plans to move York into Tier 3 and we have not received anything from central government to suggest that this is likely.
“This weekend saw tier 2 restrictions come in place to slow the spread of Coronavirus. I want to thank residents and businesses for their hard work in adapting to the new restrictions and I would ask that everyone continues to practice ‘Hands. Face. Space’, to stay at home if asked to by test and trace, and to get a test if you have symptoms.
“We will of course continue to share any updates as soon as we have them.”
131 (ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY ONE) additional positive test results today bringing the total to 2686.
No additional York hospital deaths today.
Infection rate still increasing but seems to be stabilising at an average of around 80 new cases each day.
Rate per 100,000 population was 281 on Thursday. That is higher than the national rate.
Government has still not restarted publishing results at a neighbourhood level. There has been no explanation of the change in policy. These are the figures for the most recently published 7 day period to 13th October
York is now in the top 25 of affected areas in the country
How the virus grew in York during last 6 weeks
There has been a lot of agonising in the City about how Coronavirus cases – and more recently deaths – have grown so quickly.
Some “blame” visitors, some the concentration of hospitality outlets while others choose to single out “students”.
The authorities can’t, or won’t, reveal the linkages between “contacts” and the source and locations of infections, so the truth is that no one really knows how the infection chain developed so quickly.
It is true to say, though, that the increase in cases had begun before large numbers of students started arriving in the City in mid September.
The following maps (taken from government figures click) demonstrate that the Heslington area was largely free of the coronavirus in early September. It also had a relatively low population.
The arrival of large numbers of students does seem to have triggered a significant rise is cases. The neighbourhood is now one of the worst hit in the region.
When the government lastpublishedits neighbourhood figures, the Heslington/University/Fulford area had had 119 cases during the previous week. With over 1000 students and staff now understood to be self isolating, the confirmed case numbers may now have risen again.
Only a post pandemic public inquiry will shed a full light on the nature of the decisions about reopening Universities, which were made during the summer months, and who made them.
It does appear though that the authorities underestimated the threat of virus transmission outside the strict teaching and study environment.
In the meantime, we must hope that Tier 2 restrictions, coupled to voluntary strict quarantining arrangements, will produce a downturn in case numbers across the whole City.
Council report on COVID recovery plan
The Council’s Executive are considering an update on their COVID recovery plan at a meeting on Thursday. It can be read by clicking here
This is the latest list of “can and cannot”
What the restrictions mean
In a bid to stem the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our area the new Government rules, which apply to everyone in York, mean that:
you must not meet socially with friends and family indoors, in any setting, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them – this includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants
you may continue to see friends and family you do not live with outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space – when you do so you must not meet in a group of more than 6 people
visiting indoor hospitality/leisure/retail settings is restricted to 1 household – 2 households must not meet in these settings, unless they are in a support bubble
you should only travel for essential reasons, you can continue to travel for work or to access education but should try to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
you can go on holiday outside of the area, but you should only do this with people you live with, or have formed a support bubble with, and dependant on any local restrictions in the area you’re visiting
you can play a team sport only when formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation, and sports-governing body guidance has been issued
wedding receptions and celebrations for up to 15 people are permitted in the form of a sit-down meal and in COVID secure settings, not in private dwellings
up to 30 people can attend a funeral (York Crematorium capacity is 18), and 15 people can attend a wake in a COVID secure setting, not in private dwellings
TWO additional COVID related deaths reported at the York Hospital Trust, That makes 6 in the last week.
81 (EIGHTY ONE) new positive test results were announced today bringing the cumulative total to 2555.
The peak cases (per 100k population) reached a new high of 279.19 on Monday although there may be the first signs emerging that the rate of increase has stabilised since then. Too soon to be sure though.
Regrettably, for the second day in a row, the government has failed to publish case level numbers at neighbourhood (MSOA) level. Given that this is the first day of the new Tier 2 restrictions in the City, we think that the government should be publishing more – not less – background information.
Government warning on ill judged transport schemes
The government has issued a warning to councils about squandering the money made available from the Emergency Active Travel Fund. It will be reported to a meeting next week.
… a significant minority of instances where schemes were, frankly, nowhere near good enough
A notable number of councils used their funding poorly and were simply out of step with the needs of their local communities. I saw or heard from the public and parliamentary colleagues about far too many instances where temporary cycle lanes were unused due to their location and design, while their creation left motor traffic backed up alongside them; of wide pavements causing unnecessary congestion in town centres; and other issues that many have, rightly, reacted angrily too.Government Minister
One aspect of the COVID pandemic which intrigued many people was the fall in infection rates during the summer period. While this might partly be the result of people not mixing so much indoors, some heath workers are pointing to the impact that vitamin D can have on resilience.
Sunshine is the principle source of vitamin D for many people. People get less exposure to sunlight between October and April.
The respected “Which” magazine concluded recently that, while there was little evidence that the consumption of vitamin supplements prevented coronavirus infections, generally balanced vitamin supplements did help the immune system.
We think that there is a case for the Council making vitamin supplements available free of charge to vulnerable groups including those making use of food banks.
The York Council is expecting to get an additional £600,000 in support payments from the government as a consequence of moving into Tier 2 restrictions
One additional death has been reported by the York Hospital Trust
There have been 75 (SEVENTY FIVE) additional positive test results announced today bringing the cumulative total to 2474
The rate per 100,000 population peaked at 276.34 on Monday
York will become a HIGH tier area with effect from midnight. This involves several additional restrictions including a controls on inter-family mingling.
There have been some suggestions that the additional restrictions should only have been applied to neighbourhoods with high case numbers. However, as well as Heslington, this would have affected Tang Hall and the City centre which has the second highest number of cases. Many hospitality businesses are located in the City centre and so would have been caught by the tighter restrictions whichever option was adopted.
Council updates its narrative on Pandemic
The York Council has updated its commentary on the COVID crisis on open data. It is reproduced below
he data is accurate as at 8.00 a.m. on Friday 16.10.20. Some narrative for the data covering the latest period is provided here below:
People with Covid Symptoms
• NHS Pathways/111 triages – as at 12.10.20 there had been 400 total covid triages in the CYC area in the last 7 days. The peak number of triages was 653 in the 7 day period to 20.9.20.
• As at 15.10.20, the Covid Symptom App estimates 856.3 per 100,000 in York with symptomatic covid (responses from a sample of 5,258 people). The peak estimated rate was 1,029.4 on 29.9.20.
Diagnosed cases (Pillar 1&2 combined)
• As at 15.10.20 York has had 2,399 cases, a rate of 1139 per 100,000 of population. The rate in York is above the national average (1,017.4) but below the regional average (1,463.5) average.
• The PHE ‘Exceedance’ rating compares the no. of new cases over a 14 day period with the previous 6 weeks and provides a RAG rating to indicate if the previously observed trend in the no. of new cases is worsening. The latest rating for York (12.10.20) is Red.
• The provisional rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 7.10.20 to 13.10.20 in York is 239.3. (Using data published on Gov.uk on 15.10.20).
• The latest local “validated” 7 day rate for York for the period 3.10.20 to 9.10.20 was 260.2. The national and regional averages at this date were 159.6 and 263.0 respectively ( PHE Centre Daily COVID-19 Report 15.10.20).
• As at 12.10.20, the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 only) was 15.66% (867 positives out of 5,535 tests). The national and regional averages are 8% and 11.6 % respectively. The number of Pillar 2 tests being carried out in York is increasing.
• The Fulford, Heslington and University MSOA is in the highest 5% in the Yorkshire and Humber Region for new cases per 100,000 in the seven day period up to 9.10.20. Other MSOAs in the region (e.g. Leeds, Bradford, and Sheffield) which contain university premises within their boundaries are also on this list.
• As at 14.10.20 York University reported 288 individuals within the University community who were currently self-isolating because they have had a positive COVID-19 test.
• As at 13.10.20 York St. John reported 74 individuals within the University community who were currently self-isolating because they have had a positive COVID-19 test.
• Since 28.5.20 a total of 1,646 laboratory confirmed CYC Covid cases have been uploaded into the NHS Test and Trace system and 1,276 of the cases have been engaged. 5,000 ‘contacts’ have been identified and 3,506 of these have been traced.
The two sources about deaths from Covid-19 at LA level are ONS data and local registrar data. They are derived from the same source (civil registration data). ONS data is more comprehensive as it includes deaths of York residents which have occurred and been registered outside York. Local registrar data is useful as it provides a breakdown by age and gender. The most recently available data is summarised below:
• ONS weekly data: For deaths occurring up to 2nd October 2020 and registered up to 10th October 2020, 172 deaths were recorded as having occurred for CYC residents (83 in hospital, 77 in care homes, 9 at home and 3 in a hospice. The number of deaths per 100,000 of population in York is 81.66 which is lower than the national average of 89.62. The most recent death reported for a York resident was in week 38 (12 to 18 September).
• ‘Excess’ deaths (ONS). In week 40 (26 Sept to 2 Oct), 30 deaths occurred for York residents, which is 1 fewer than the average weekly number for 2014-18. Over the last 19 weeks the total number of deaths in York has been 51 fewer than the average for the equivalent weeks in 2014-18.
• Local Registrar data: In the weekly data received on 12.10.20 (for deaths occurring up to 7.10.20), a cumulative total of 164 deaths of CYC residents where COVID-19 was mentioned (confirmed or suspected) on the death certificate, have been registered. The average age of the people who died was 82.6, with an age range of 53-104. The age profile of those dying in York is slightly older than the national average. 87 of the 164 were male (53%), slightly less than the national average (55.1%). 81 of the deaths occurred in hospital and 83 were community deaths (e.g. at home or in a care home or hospice). 72 people (43.9%) died in nursing /care homes (the national average is 29.3%). In addition 13 people (7.9%) who normally resided in nursing/care homes in the CYC area, died in hospital. The most recent death for CYC resident occurred on 7.10.20.
Data on deaths occurring in hospital are shown below. Deaths are initially reported for York NHS Foundation Trust which includes Scarborough Hospital and the further breakdown by site can be delayed. From local registrar data, 57.7% of COVID-19 deaths occurring at York Hospital have been CYC residents. (NB NHS Trusts record deaths following a positive covid-19 test (within 28 days) whereas ONS record deaths where covid-19 in mentioned on the death certificate so the totals are not the same).
• Deaths at York Hospital: As at 15.10.20, 139 deaths (awaiting confirmation of breakdown by hospital site) where the person had tested positive for COVID-19 and were being cared for at York Hospital have been reported. 220 deaths have been reported by the wider York NHS Trust.
Deep frustration over COVID fact void
Local Conservative MP Julian Study has joined the increasing clamour for the authorities to improve the breadth and timeliness of the COVID stats being made available to York residents.
He rightly pointed out in the House of Commons yesterday that many of the figures, which drove the City into a “High” level of restrictions, have not been published.
The concern reflects the views of many residents as well as the York Council.
The Council has now made a list available of the information that it publishes on a regular basis.
It was responding to a suggestion that some additional numbers should be publicly available.
We identified key information which was needed to monitor progress daily.
There are several gaps including the percentage of tests undertaken which are positive (the information is available only for Pillar Two tests and is published by the government 2 weeks in arrears).
Other gaps include
1. The demographics of current cases in City (e.g. by age group, by ward)
2. Test and trace results including the number of tests completed by channel (Pillar 1, Poppleton, Heslington, postal etc.), positivity, contracts traced, contacts still to be traced, linkages to workplaces, schools, universities etc
3. Hospital admissions, bed occupancy, ICU occupancy and discharges
The Council says that it doesn’t get this information from government so can’t publish it.
It also admits that there is a lot of information that it does get but currently chooses not to add to the “open data” web site (see table).
Not surprisingly there are now calls for more transparency.
In 2020 the authorities should be able to provide “real time” updates.
Against the background of a rapidly changing situation, the publication of information “two weeks in arrears” is simply unacceptable.
Alert level tier national map
Useful map of COVID restrictions in a rapidly changing world
Another York Hospital Trust death was announced today
There were 71 (SEVENTY ONE) additional positive test results announced today. This brings the total to 2399. 1424 of these have occurred since the start of the second wave of infections on 1st September.
The highest rate per 100,000 head of population happened on Monday when the figure reached 274.44
The worst affected neighbourhood is Heslington/University which has had 119 positive test results during the last 7 days.
The least affected area has been Bishopthorpe/Copmanthorpe with 7 cases.
The government has published updated test and trace stats covering the period between 30th September and 7th October. Nearly 1 in 5 of the people who were tested in York were found to have the virus. The positivity rate is continuing to increase.
The government claims that it has traced 67% of contacts in the City since test & trace started in May. The York Council has announced plans to set up its own contact tracing service. It is expected to be operational next week.
York subject to Tier 2 restrictions
The City is to be added to the areas with “Tier 2” restrictions. Given the recent increase in case numbers in parts of the City, the decision is not unexpected.
The restrictions are effective from 00:01 this Saturday morning
Tier 2 restrictions will mean
All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru
Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
The “Rule of Six” will continue to apply outdoors and in private gardens
People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport
Some may feel that the move comes too late and should include further restrictions on travel, the closure of more leisure venues, schools returning to the arrangements seen in the Spring with other educational facilities being quarantined.
95 (NINETY FIVE) additional positive test results were announced today, bringing the cumulative total up to 2190.
The largest, individual day, positive test count number was 103 which occurred last Wednesday.
The cases per 100,000 population figure peaked at 261.15 on Thursday.
The neighbourhood with the largest number of positive test results is still Heslington/University which currently has 78 cases. This is down from the peak of 88 which was reported yesterday. The university says that it was aware of 247 individuals within the university community who were currently self-isolating because they had had a positive Covid-19 test.
The area with the fewest cases is Dunnington/Elvington/Wheldrake (6)
Some pupils at the Haxby Road and Robert Wilkinson schools in the City are understood to be self-isolating. More than 150 children at the two schools are affected
No further hospital deaths in York. There have, however, been 81 deaths announced in other parts of the country.
The government has announced that it will make the following grants to cultural organisations in the City
York Museums Trust
Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial