Category: Covid-19

Covid Watch 168: Omicron, face masks, new testing advice and peaking cases

Our country has been battered by Storm Arwen. Could it also be about to be battered by Variant Omicron? The new Covid variant has twice as many mutations as Delta, which is currently the dominant variant worldwide. That’s why many scientists and politicians are so concerned about it, even if we have little scientific evidence at this early stage about its transmissibility, the extent to which it can infect vaccinated people, whether it causes serious illness and whether it can compete with Delta. Face masks will be compulsory in shops and on buses and trains from Monday. New arrivals to the UK must take PCR tests not lateral flow. Infection rates have been increasing across Shropshire. The infection rate in the unitary area recently peaked in the seven days to 19 November at an all-time high of 571 identified cases per 100,000 people. A few days later, the infection rate reached 617 in Telford & Wrekin, though that is not quite as high as the rate a month earlier of 637. In the last few days, the infection rate has been falling across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, England and the UK. It is too early to say whether this is…

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Covid Watch 167: Infection rates are going up and down in Telford and Shropshire

Just a quick update this week. The infection rate has been falling in Telford, though provisional data show a small increase in recent days. In Shropshire, the infection rate looks to be increasing, though again the data on this is provisional. Across England, the recent fall in infection rates has halted. Locally in Ludlow, infection rates have flattened out and may be rising. There are currently 45 patients with Covid in the county’s three main hospitals.

Covid Watch 166: Cases fall but more people in hospital

There has been a welcome fall in cases across England, and in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Ludlow. Rates however remain high. As always, we should view the trend with caution. Over the last few months, we have seen rates fall only to shoot up again very quickly. The latest data for Ludlow shows 31 cases in the week to 31 October, down from 97 two weeks earlier. It is disturbing to see that the number of hospital beds occupied by patients with Covid has shot up in Shropshire, with 60 patients now in the county’s three main hospitals. There were just 22 unoccupied adult general and acute beds in the county on 2 November. The vaccination rollout continues apace in Ludlow. If you qualify for a third jab, you’ll be called as soon as practical. Flu vaccine supplies seem to be slower coming through but, again, patients will be called as soon as practical.

Covid Watch 165: Relief and caution as reported infections begin to fall

The infection rate in Ludlow halved during the week to 24 October. But, with 456 infections per 100,000 people, the rate remained high. Looking further afield, Shropshire had a infection rate last Friday of 325; Telford & Wrekin 470; and England 360. These rates are down on the previous week during which Telford & Wrekin reached its highest infection rate to date. There could have been some distortion in the data due a rush for testing before the half term holiday and a reduction of testing during the holiday itself. The recent falls in rates could be affected by this. However, the decrease in infection rates in Ludlow and south west Shropshire is looking optimistic.

Covid Watch 164: Ludlow infection rates at all time high

The infection rate, the number of cases per 100,000 people over seven days, reached 885 in Ludlow in the week to 17 October. That was more double the infection rate for England (388) and Shropshire (485) and considerably higher than for Telford & Wrekin (593). Although rates are now beginning to fall, they still remain at an all time high for our town. It may be that Shropshire and Ludlow are playing catch up. The unitary area and our town had lower infection rates than much of the country during 2020. That could have led to a lower community immunity. With schools having been back and social mixing restrictions all but abandoned, infection has been growing in our community. Most clinically vulnerable people will by now have had two doses of vaccine and many have received their third dose. Most children tend to shake off Covid-19. But they can be very poorly. They can spread infection among their friends and family and a small number can suffer long term health damage. There is significant concern that flu will be more severe this winter. We have been living in relative isolation in our local and national islands during lockdowns, restrictions on…

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