We can’t duck the issue that Covid-19 is here in Ludlow, is everywhere in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. We have around 20 cases a week at present in Ludlow, most asymptomatic. Asymptomatic or not, this disease is a nasty spreader.
In the next few weeks, months if necessary, Tracey Huffer and I are going to talk about Covid-19. About how it is affecting our community. How we are responding as a community. How health professionals are responding. And we’ll be doing that with the help of professionals and our community.
We have a long list of topics to cover along with topic events like the lifting of the second lockdown. We begin today with a video on how we got to where we are today in Shropshire. We will of course be talking about the refined tier system announced by Boris Johnson this afternoon later this week when we know what tier Shropshire is in.
The technical stuff
The First Wave was underreported. Until July 2, by which time the first wave was over, the number of cases reported only included results from Pillar 1 tests (hospital tests processed in government labs) . Pillar 2 tests (drive-through and home kits processed in commercial labs) were added on July 2 leading to an increase in the number of reported cases. It was also difficult to obtain a Covid-19 test outside a hospital setting at the beginning of the First Wave and most people with mild symptoms or who were asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus were not tested.
Today’s statistics won’t be right. Although the headline number of new cases detected is published daily, the daily data are rarely correct. This is because the number of cases headlined today is the number of cases reported to National Health England today. This will include cases detected during the previous four or five days. For example, the number of cases reported in Shropshire on 11 November was 124. Two days later, that was reduced to 92 after 32 cases reported on 11 November were allocated to the earlier dates on which the tests were confirmed positive. We should not be over-reliant on the daily statistics but study the overall trend which is unaffected by the day to day issues of collating and reporting the Covid-19 test data.
MSOAs. I never thought I’d be talking about middle super output areas outside the hallowed halls of local demographic statistics. MSOAs are useful but sometimes awkwardly shaped geographical units containing 10,000 people. Ludlow is covered by one MSOA (Shropshire 038), Bridgnorth by two, Oswestry by two, Whitchurch and Market Drayton by one. In Shrewsbury, there are nine. They work well, but not always. The main outbreak of Covid-19 in Craven Arms was in the traveller community on the edge of the town. That led to the cases being allocated to Clun and Bucknell. But mostly MSOAs work.