Coronavirus York updates; 17th November 2020

Deaths and test results

TWO additional deaths have been announced by the York Hospital Trust today. They both occurred on Sunday. The cumulative second wave fatality total has now reached 47 at the York and Scarborough hospitals.

FIFTY TWO (52) additional positive test results announced today.

Case numbers are now slowly reducing.

There have been no major adverse changes in any neighbourhood although four remain above national average case rate levels.

Other statistics are not yet available

More on the revised figures announced yesterday

It now seems clear that the major retrospective increase in the number of cases in the City was linked to positive test results at York University.

The case distribution map (below) is now showing 372 cases there during the week ending 14th October. That is pretty much off the scale by way of comparison with other neighbourhoods.

It appears that many students had not registered in York with a GP and that their test result had initially been allocated to their home towns.

Government case distribution map mid October

The way that cases are allocated geographically has made little difference to figures recorded during the last few days.

Outbreak management meeting tomorrow

The Councils Coronavirus outbreak management board is meeting tomorrow. No papers for the meeting have been published yet but is likely to be a significant one against a background of case numbers beginning to creep up again in some York neighbourhoods.

Residents will expect to see a clear path forward covering the remainder of the lockdown period, the return to the tiered approach on 3rd December and plans for the Christmas period.

The York University is likely to come under scrutiny with pressures to temporarily close the campus mounting. The pressure is event greater now that new figures have revealed the sheer size of the epidemic at Heslington which occurred in October.

Residents will hope to learn more about the most vulnerable locations for COVID contact. This information should be available now from the local authorities “test and trace” system.

Finally, many will hope to see more information from the managers of local hospitals. Performance information should be provided with a separate analysis for the York and Scarborough sites.

Coronavirus York updates; 18th October 2020

Deaths and test results

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 last published its 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.

COVID cases early September
COVID cases late September
COVID cases early October

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 visit care homes in exceptional circumstances, see more information on visiting family and friends in care homes
  • 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
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID secure manner, other than businesses which remain closed by law
  • certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10.00pm and 5.00am
  • serving food and drink will be restricted to table service only
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off their premises, can continue to do so after 10.00pm as long as this is through a delivery service, click-and-collect, or drive-thru
  • leisure and entertainment venues are required to close between 10.00pm to 5.00am
  • you should only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  • you should work from home wherever possible
  • exercise classes will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with

Be aware that:

  • schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • you can meet people outside in parks or open spaces, following ‘the rule of 6’ and remembering ‘hands. face, space’
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors

York TV channel remains nameless?

The new TV channel aiming to start broadcasts in York next spring apparently still has no name.TV_Camera

A “competition” – offering a £1000 prize – to find a name ran on “Twitter” until 27th June.

With a similar project in Birmingham having recently been abandoned there is now some speculation about the future of the York channel.

There was some suggestion that the company could be based at the Guildhall but it now appears that the new channel will be located initially at the University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television.

The station enjoyed the ringing endorsement of Council Leader James Alexander last November when it was awarded a license to broadcast on a “freeview” channel.

Station publicity said, “Launching in spring 2015, York’s new television channel will provide original and exclusive news, current affairs, entertainment, heritage, business and culture programming about York and the local area.

It follows the award of a 12-year L-DTPS license to broadcast on Freeview channel 8 by Ofcom to a consortium of leading local institutions including One&Other TV, University of York, York St John University, SCY, Visit York, York CVS, City of York Council, Yorkshire Film Archive in November 2013.

 The channel is expecting to create 12-15 new jobs initially

NB. Science City – which was involved with the station – has recently been taken over by the City of York Council reviving some concerns about the impartiality of any affected media outlets.

A report on the future of the Guildhall is scheduled to be considered at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 7th October 2014

Safety improvements planned for University Road in Heslington

The York Council is considering installing a new pedestrian crossing on University Road in Heslington.

The have been four injury accidents on the road in recent years.

The scheme could cost £70,000 and also involves introducing a 20 mph speed limit.

The Council has so far not revealed why this area is apparently being omitted from its wide area speed limit plan for the eats of York.

The University is also going to invest around £150,000 in off carriageway works some of which may encourage students to use a footbridge to cross the road.

Details of the plan can be found by clicking here


Click for detail

Click for detail

York Council’s £3.5 million payment to local Universities

The York Council has released details of the payments that it has made to local Universities over the last 4 years.

Click to download full list

Click to download full list

In total, payments of around £3.5 million have been made although the vast majority of this (£3 million) was a grant to York University for the provision of a County Standard swimming pool. The scheme – part of the new “sports village” on Hull Road – was agreed after the Barbican pool closed and was paid for from the proceeds of the sale of the land there.

In total £192,519 has been paid to St Johns University. The largest payments were made to an anti bullying campaign although the University receives significant payments from taxpayers for the “Higher York” organisation.

The University of York fee payments range from £170,000 paid for the York Cares organisation (which managess voluntary projects in the City) to £850 for a speaker at a “women’s development session”.

All Council expenditure is now being closely scrutinised following the decision of the Labour Leadership to remove winter salt bins from key foopath locations in the City.

The bins cost only £50 a time to fill.

NB. At the last Council meeting the Labour Leadership revealed that it will pay £31,000 to York Athletics Club as a sweetener to move out of the Huntington Stadium. It had been intended to provide a replacement athletics facility at the sports village but Labour now propose to fund the refurbishment of the existing University athletics field.

Blow for Sports Village hopes. Community Stadium to be delayed?

The Council has announced that it will no longer be funding an athletics track at the Sports Village on Hull Road.

The facility was to have opened this year.

The proposal to establish a sports village – which also includes swimming pools, 3G football pitches, a fitness suite, a outdoor cycling circuit and spa facilities – was agreed over 3 years ago and most of the facilities are now in use.

Athletics stadium Sept 2013

However, the provision of a new £2 million athletics stadium was to be the final jewel in the crown.

The intention had been to maximise the use of shared facilities such as the refreshment area, physiotherapy, spa and changing rooms.

Now the Council has decided to refurbish the University of York running track on Heslington Lane which is nearly 2 miles away from the Sports Village. The Heslington/Fulford area already suffers from traffic and parking issues

The implications for the running costs of both facilities remain unclear as does the financial commitment of the Council to the whole Community Stadium project.

A spokesperson for the Labour run council has claimed that the new site will be “cheaper”.

However, the athletes are claiming that the Council has agreed to subsidise the York Athletic Club for “5 years”.

Who has agreed such a subsidy, with what restrictions and for how much remains a mystery?

Behind closed doors logo

This major change in policy was taken at another behind closed doors meeting, so taxpayers are being kept in the dark

Moving the athletics track from the Huntington Stadium was an essential precursor to work on the new stadium starting.

It now seems that athletes will leave Huntington in late 2014 prior to occupying the refurbished University track in 2015.

Completion of the Community Stadium has already been put back to 2016 and further delays cannot be ruled out.