Coronavirus York updates; 5th January 2021

Deaths and test results

No further deaths announced by the York Hospital Trust today

ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY NINE (189) additional positive test results announced today. Brings cumulative total to 8,080.

Rate /100k population is now 464.8.

Set to rise to 559.8

All neighbourhoods are now above the 200 case rate threshold.

By the end of 2020 there were 979 COVID cases in the City

Prior to lockdown, infection rates were increasing at City, county, regional and national levels. It will be next week at least before the effects of Lockdown 3 are reflected in case rate figures.

End of year neighbourhood trend graphs


The vaccination centre on Moor Lane was not being used today. Improved lighting was being installed. Early recipients – over 80’s, care home occupants/workers and NHS staff – will mostly be immunised at their place of work or at a GP surgery. However, we’d expect the Moor Lane facility to become much busier over the next week or so

New Lockdown

The country woke up today to find that new lockdown restrictions were implemented at midnight. Full details can be found by clicking here

The restrictions are similar to those seen in the Spring although there are some exceptions (estate agents can, for example, continue working and religious services may take place subject to social distancing).

In summary the main features of the new lockdown – which is enforceable by law with on the spot fines for transgressors – are:

Stay at home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work

York Council offers support

City of York Council reassures residents and businesses following the announcement of further national restrictions.

Following this evening’s (4 January) announcement from the Prime Minister, City of York Council has moved to reassure residents and businesses that it will continue to support local communities after further national restrictions were introduced.

The Government is urging people to follow this guidance immediately. The law will be updated to reflect these new rules.

The Prime Minister announced the Government’s restrictions including that you must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Anyone affected by coronavirus and who has no other sources of help, can call the Council’s Covid-19 helpline on telephone: 01904 551550 or email:

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

In recent weeks across the country, including here in York, there has been an alarming increase in the number of positive cases.  

“Of course this isn’t the start to 2021 any of us wanted, but with this concerning trend, it is vital that we all follow the new national restrictions.”

“As we have done since the very beginning of this pandemic, the Council will continue to do all we can to make sure residents, businesses and communities are supported through this difficult time.  We will also continue to make the case to Government for increased financial support, both to local businesses and households on low incomes.”

“I would like to thank everyone in the city, including our incredible volunteers, Council staff, key workers communities and businesses, who have already done so much in extraordinary circumstances and demonstrated the very best of our city.”

“This is a tough period for us all, but please look after each other and check in on friends, families and neighbours. With the vaccine roll out, there is hope on the horizon, but we need to pull through this once again.”

Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health at City of York Council said:

Over the last few weeks we have seen the number of infections significantly increase across all age groups. This is a cruel and unforgiving virus and therefore, we must do all we can to protect ourselves and each other by reducing our risk of spreading the virus and remembering Hands, Face, Space.

“None of us want to see further restrictions on our lives, but it is crucial that we stop the spread of the virus as the vaccine is rolled out. Everyone has sacrificed so much to look after each other, collectively we must go again.

“As well as looking after our physical health by practicing hands, face, space, we must also look after our mental health too.  Anyone needing support can call our helpline and I would encourage those that can to exercise. Getting exercise, ideally in the fresh air, can make a real difference to your physical and emotional health and will help make the next month more bearable.

“The Every Mind Matters campaign has lots of helpful tips for everyone to look after their emotional health. As a city we always look after each other and this has been demonstrated time and time again this year. Please stay safe, we will meet again”

Anyone affected by coronavirus and who has no other sources of help, can telephone: 01904 551550 or email:

National restrictions:

Council COVID support:

Coronavirus York updates; 20th November 2020

Deaths and test results

THREE (3) additional deaths announced by York Hospital Trust today. Two occurred on Wednesday and one yesterday. Brings second wave total fatalities at York and Scarborough hospitals to 52

THIRTY SIX (36) additional positive test results announced today bringing the cumulative total for the City to 5381

Most neighbourhoods remain below the regional and national averages.

There has been a spike in cases recently in the Clifton North area.

Case numbers at Heslington are beginning to fall again

Otherwise the slow gradual downward trend in case numbers continues. This is now matched at county, regional and national level.

Lockdown impact on case numbers

It may be worth remembering, as we start to assess the impact of lockdown 2 on York, that it took 2 months before case numbers peaked during the first lockdown period in the spring.

The second wave of infections in the City was already trending down before, first Tier 2 then full lockdown, restrictions were introduced.

However, the peak infection rate has, and remains, much higher than was seen in the spring. There is still a long way to go and it could be well into next year before infection rates start to reflect first wave exit numbers.

7 day rolling case number averages. First wave (March – June) compared to Second wave (Sept – Nov)
  • First lockdown started 16th March
  • First lockdown eased from 13th May.
  • York enters Tier 2 restrictions 17th October
  • Second lockdown starts 5th November

Source of infections

PHE has published some data indicating where victims may have come into contact with the virus. This is national data extracted from the the NHS App. and covered the period between 9th and 15th November. We believe that this information should also be published at a local level.

The major contact areas are revealed as supermarkets and schools. It is not suggested that these were the locations where victims caught the virus.

Surplus food distribution very popular

We understand that as many as 70 people have been attending the surplus food distribution sessions at the Foxwood Community Centre. Sessions take place twice a week.

More help for businesses

The York Council has announced how it proposes to allocate the Additional Restrictions Grant of £4,212,360 which it it has received as a one-off payment from the government. It must cover the current lockdown, any
future national lockdown, and any period when York might be
subject to local Tier 3 restrictions before the end of financial year

For businesses that predominantly supply their goods and services
the Government’s Inter Departmental Business Register shows there to be approximately 250 businesses in scope in York. Some are wholesalers to nonessential retail, while others are the greengrocers, fishmongers,
butchers, commercial laundries, cleaning contractors and others
who provide services to hospitality and accommodation providers.
A further related sector is companies who work with venues and
hospitality providers to arrange events – can also be thought
of as suppliers

  • For those with fixed commercial premises costs – rent payable to a landlord – a payment of £1,334 per 28-day qualifying restriction period (base level of LRSG(Closed) payments)
  •  For those without fixed premises costs, a payment of £500 per 28-day qualifying restriction period.

Details can be found by clicking here

Covid-secure winter beds for rough sleepers

The official number of rough sleepers in York has fallen to three and Covid-secure emergency winter beds are available to help people off the streets.

Arrangements are in place to ensure the welfare of rough sleepers this winter, including beds available in addition to the regular emergency accommodation. In line with guidelines to minimise the transmission of the virus, this accommodation is to support even more people off the streets, rather than sleeping rough and vulnerable to even more danger in the coldest months.

York goes above and beyond the national ‘severe weather scheme’ by making these beds available whether or not it’s freezing. We also accept rough sleepers’ dogs in a number of our hostels in York, and have done so since 2000.

Officers from the Salvation Army and the council are constantly working with people on the streets to bring them into the accommodation they need. Some of the winter beds offered are at council hostels where partner agencies and volunteer groups give extra support including providing food or clothing over the winter months.

In all emergency accommodation, people are offered help to address any issues which may have led them to becoming homeless. This includes referral to services for mental health or substance misuse, as well as training for work and how to manage a lasting tenancy. Once that stage is successfully underway, people are offered accommodation with less support before, hopefully, they move into private or affordable fully-independent homes.

Rough Sleeper services are operating as usual: for a bed, please go to 63 Lawrence Street before midday or call 01904 416562.

Anyone who sees a person sleeping rough can ring Streetlink on 0300 500 0194 which will alert us to visit the location and offer support. Many other ways to help people off the streets can be found at

Tinkering with traffic schemes in York

The new lockdown arrangements will alter once again traffic flows in the City.

The changes will affect the monitoring of schemes like The Groves, where the Council have so far been unable to produce before and after figures for air pollution and congestion.

A review of the scheme was promised early in 2021.

Very low traffic levels on Penley’s Grove Street during first lockdown

The effected streets were – like many in other parts of the City – virtually deserted during the first lockdown. Alternative routes have also been quiet since the beginning of the year.

Now the Council has formally changed the The Groves restrictions twice in the space of 7 days.

As no figures have been shared with residents it is impossible to judge whether the changes are justified.

However, the absence of any action on safety aspects of the scheme – including the controversial contra flow cycle routes – tells its own story.

Reopening the restricted access, at least for emergency vehicles, would also have been worth addressing as pressures on the NHS grow. .

Elsewhere, West Offices leaked a plan to the media yesterday which said that foot-street hours were being changed to 10:30am – 5:00pm during the lockdown.

There was no consultation on the proposal and no decision appears in the Councils official “on line” log. Sources say that it is aimed at making access to “takeaways” easier.

Maybe so.

But it is unclear why the revision simply didn’t reinstate the traditional footstreet hours (10:30am – 4:00pm). At least the signage for that restriction is already available!

York Central

It seems that the Council will determine the detailed planning application for the York Central site during the lockdown.

The proposal is likely to go to a public inquiry but when and how that could be arranged under the pandemic restrictions remains to be seen.

The applicants have failed to satisfy perfectly reasonable objections to transport access proposals for the site.

The Marble Arch pedestrian access

The Leeman Road tunnel (next to Marble Arch) would still be made one way with cyclists apparently expected to brave a deluge of liquid manure during wet weather.

Wilton Rise existing footbridge

Problems with the poor access for cyclists in the Wilton Rise area have also not been addressed.

Local residents – quite legitimately – are objecting to losing pedestrian access down the current line of Leeman Road as the railway museum stubbornly pursues its “annexation” policies.

Other more extreme objections have been lodged – including the impractical “no vehicles” lobby – but it is the failure of the developers to satisfy the concerns of “moderate” residents, which may lead to lengthy delays is getting this important scheme actually built.

Coronavirus York updates; 31st October 2020

Deaths and test results

ONE further death at the York Hospital Trust was announced today. It occurred on Thursday.

53 (FIFTY THREE) additional positive test results announced today bringing the cumulative total to 3705

Infection rate has fallen to 222.2 (per 100k population). This is below the regional average

There is a continuing downward trend in case numbers. Only 3 neighbourhoods in York are now above the national average – Fulford (case numbers falling), Rawcliffe/Clifton South (rising) and Wigginton (stable).

Recent trends in York overall plus selected neighbourhoods

New lockdown measures in palce from Thursday

These are the new restrictions for England:

  • Only leave your home for specific reasons – education, work if you cannot work from home, exercise, medical reasons, to escape injury or harm, shop for food and essentials, and provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
  • No mixing of households inside homes, except for childcare and other support
  • No mixing of households outside, except for exercising or visiting a public place with one other person
  • People who shielded in March do not have to shield again, but clinically vulnerable and over-60s are advised to limit social contacts and follow rules carefully
  • All pubs, bars and restaurants to close – takeaways and deliveries allowed, but no takeaway alcohol
  • All non-essential retail to close but supermarkets can still sell non-essential goods – click and collect can continue
  • Leisure and entertainment venues to close, including gyms
  • International travel out of the UK banned, except for work
  • Travel within the UK discouraged, except for work
  • Work places should stay open where people cannot work from home
  • Support bubbles remain
  • Children allowed to move between homes if parents separated
  • Outdoor exercise and recreation encouraged and is unlimited – only with your household/bubble, on your own or with one other person from a different household (golf is not allowed)
  • People can sit on park benches and have picnics as long as it is with their household
  • Services in places of worship banned but private prayer permitted
  • Funerals allowed with close family members only
  • Manufacturing and construction to continue
  • Childcare settings, schools, colleges and universities to remain open
  • Playgrounds to remain open
  • Medical appointments to continue as normal
  • Vets to remain open
  • Courts to remain open
  • Job centres to remain open
  • Professional sports allowed but amateur sports are not
  • Premier League matches will go ahead
  • Hotels and hostels to remain open for people travelling for work and limited other reasons

Coronavirus York updates; 30th September 2020

Deaths and test results

It looks like York is heading for a new lockdown following the announcement today of 35 new positive test results. That brings the cumulative total number of cases to 1309.

The figures mean that we are now seeing over 50 cases per 100,000 head of population each week. This is the intervention level set by the government after which additional restrictions are implemented.

The most likely restrictions will be similar to those imposed in West Yorkshire. There, contact is banned between people from different households.

There have been no additional hospital deaths announced today

The worst affected neighbourhoods in York are Bishopthorpe/Copmanthorpe and Clifton Without/Skelton

Lots of questions to be answered

UPDATE; The urgent control board meeting has taken place it can be viewed on line via the Council web site (click below)

One or two pieces of new information did emerge at the meeting. There are now 10 beds occupied at the York hospital by COVID patients. This is still many fewer than the numbers seen in May but is gradually increasing.

Impact on hospital capacity

Although probably not a surprise to many, the demographics of the second wave suggest that it is under 30’s who are most affected

Age groups of recent positive tests

The meeting was told

  • The last national seven day rate showed that as of 27 September York has 46 cases per 100,000 population, which on average is 14 new cases every day. There is usually a time lag in what is reported nationally and we will soon show a rate of 52. The national and regional averages are 49.7 and 70.3 respectively.
  • The latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 only) was 3.61%. The national and regional averages are 3.8% and 4.6% respectively.
  • In the two weeks up until 21 September, almost every area in York had positive COVID cases reported.  No area has had over ten cases in the period of a week, which shows that transmission isn’t confined to particular parts of the city.

EARLIER The Councils COVID management board meets later today. Little update information  has been issued in advance of the meeting (click)

We know that the number of cases in the City is rising rapidly. Fatalities are also now occurring again. Such information is in the public domain courtesy only of central government web sites.

Analyses of the situation in York is anecdotal at the best

The Public Health Officer uses Facebook to say that most infections occur because of home visits by family and friends. Public contact is less of an issue apparently.

But no figures are offered to back up this assertion.

How many, when, where? All are key questions on the lips of residents.

We only know that there have been 2 recent COVID deaths in care homes. No further details have been provided

“Sources” at St Johns University say that over a dozen students have symptoms. York University says that case number are low. Both institutions say they have difficulty getting tests completed. So, do they really know the scale of their problems?

We now know that a drop in testing centre for York University students will open tomorrow in a segregated and managed area in the Wentworth Way car park. The facility will open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, on an appointment-only basis from tomorrow (Thursday). Tests can be booked using the NHS Covid-19 App, the NHS website or by telephoning 119.

The position for permanent York residents remains unclear.

We were promised another drop-in test centre. We do not know when, where or even if, it will open? Nor do we know what its capacity will  be.

Where are the weekly test and trace numbers for York? What is the backlog in requests for tests. How quickly are results produced?

The Council apparently has access to the data but doesn’t publish it on its “Open Data” web site. Officials say they have the go ahead for a local test and trace process.  That has been promised for 3 months now and seems to be no nearer to producing verifiable results at neighbourhood level.

Then there is hospital management.

They are not listed on the Outbreak board agenda to be reporting to today’s meeting. Yet the ability of the hospital to deal with the second wave of cases is a key concern for residents.  How many admissions? How many beds occupied? How many in ICU? How many discharges? What spare capacity is available?

Where is the independent challenge to the secrecy culture?

 The executive member, with responsibility for Health issues, has a subterranean profile. There is no campaign for openness from that quarter. The last decision session on health and social care was held on 13th February.

The last Health and Adult Social Care Policy and Scrutiny Committee meeting was held on 18th February. That is the body which should challenge and question on health concerns.

 A management meeting earlier this week promised that scrutiny committees would shortly start operating again. The health committee has a lot of ground to make up

The Health and Wellbeing Board last met on 30th July. It has no further meetings scheduled.

So, all York residents have available are the occasional anodyne “on line” Q & A session involving self styled  “leaders”.  Yesterday’s Facebook session was typical. It produced nothing new and was distracted by discussion of the so called “devolution” deals being offered to North Yorkshire.

It increasingly appears that the Councils aim is not to “inform” but to “direct”.

Anyone doubting that should look at the one presentation which has been released in advance of today’s meeting. The public relations plan (click) is all about what others should do. It fails to answer the obvious question.

What do residents want to know?

Monk Bar car park taxi shuttle service

The Council will continue the Monk Bar car park taxi shuttle service for the disabled until the new year. The decision was taken “behind closed doors” by a Council official.

Most of the spaces reserved for the disabled at Monk Bar car park have not been used

While the basic principle of the service has been broadly welcomed, critics have blasted the large number (40) of spaces coned off for the service.  This has put pressure on the rest of the car park. Anecdotally it appears that no more than seven spaces have been occupied by disabled drivers at any one time.

No analysis of the demand for space was published before the decision was made. Neither have any details of the number of passengers using the shuttle service been revealed.

The service is costing taxpayers £354 a day in subsidies.

Ambulances in bus lanes

In a less controversial decision, the Council has agreed that liveried ambulances may use bus lanes in future even if they not responding to an emergency call.

Deans Park reopens


From 10am today Dean’s Park will reopen in the heart of York. Please respect the guidelines currently in place across the country, protect yourselves & others where possible, and enjoy your visit

The Park will remain open 10am-6pm 7 days a week.

For the health and safety of others, the Minster reminds all visitors that ball games, smoking and dogs are not permitted in the park

York Minster remains closed but it is broadcasting services via You Tube and Zoom.

There is pressure now for the remaining closed central area park – Museum Gardens – also to reopen.

One law for……

Perhaps the actions that have attracted the most criticism during lockdown nationally have been those where politicians and senior officials have been seen to break their own rules. Several have been forced to resign although, at least, one has famously not.

Not surprisingly the words and actions of their local counterparts are also now under increasing scrutiny. Tomorrow some schools will reopen while those that have carried on educating the children of Key Workers can expect an influx of additional pupils. Opinions are mixed about the timing of this move and, indeed,  the return of more people to their workplaces.

MPs have returned to Westminster albeit in a “social distancing” respecting way.

So why have the City’s democratic institutions not been revived? Apart from a couple of anaemic virtual Q & A sessions, local leaders seem to have preferred to issue the occasional policy edict.

They have seemed reluctant to submit to scrutiny.

The Councils scrutiny and audit functions – led by opposition Councillors – have been ineffective for many years, with participants trying to score political points while exploring their own self interest obsessions.

Never has there been a greater need for challenge than now when residents have so many real concerns about what has happened and what might happen if a second wave of COVID infections hits the City. Other areas are already making preparations

It seems extraordinary that City bosses can order teachers and children back to the classroom while they themselves hide behind the safety of virtual reality meetings. While the need for full scale Council meetings may be small at the present time, there is an urgent requirement for all decisions to be preceded with  good quality, informed reports. Residents should be able to hear the arguments for and against controversial decisions like the Bishopthorpe Road contraflow cycle lane.

Many paths are now obstructed

Some Council services have actually improved during lockdown.

Street cleaning standards are high and pothole reports are being dealt with more quickly. This, though, has tended to highlight the awful state of many carriageways and paths – in itself the most likely reason (together with path obstructions) why many, who have taken up walking and cycling  in  their leisure times, may now return to their cars.

Some empty council houses have attracted dumping

There has also been an increase in the number of long term empty Council houses with some homes having become dumping grounds. The repair and re-letting service needs to get into gear. They can follow the lead of  those estate agents who have successfully adapted to incorporate social distancing into their processes.

Whether some Councillors actually “get this” is unclear. They recently publish a letter saying that they estimated “that there would be over 700 (coronavirus) deaths in the City by October”.

So far there have been 126 deaths at York hospital, with a similar total in the local community. 

If another 500 deaths are expected, why on earth are we relaxing the lockdown?