Essex residents urged to follow Covid guidelines following exponential increase in rates

Health / Thu 17th Dec 2020 at 12:00pm

ESSEX County Council (ECC) is urging residents to continue following Covid guidelines as the latest rate for the county has risen exponentially to 305.3 per 100,000 – a 79 per cent increase over the last seven days.

Nearly every area of Essex has seen a significant increase in the rate of Covid, with the total number of cases rising to 4,547 in the seven days up to 10 December.

Cases are very high in specific age groups, with the rates for people over 60 now standing at 140 per 100,000 – an increase of 37% in the past week. The 11-18 age group has also seen an especially steep and rapid rise, with the rate now standing at 457 per 100,000.

Specific areas of the county continue to be a concern due to their high rates, including Basildon which currently has a rate of 648 per 100,000 and Epping Forest, with a rate of 445.

Areas in mid Essex have also seen notable increases, including Braintree and Chelmsford which have increased by 176% and 159% respectively.

There has been an increase in the number of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients, with current numbers representing 93% of those seen at the height of the outbreak in April-May.

As of 15 December, there were 523 beds occupied by confirmed Covid patients in Essex hospital trusts. This equates to 15% of trust capacity and is 49% higher compared to bed occupancy one week previous (8 December).

Both Basildon and Southend Hospitals are seeing sharp increases in the number of Covid patients. Numbers at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and Colchester Hospital are also increasing.

The County Council is working hard alongside partners to manage the increasing cases, including managing transmission through the local track and trace service, which is now seeing complete case and contact rates of 87% and 90% respectively.

Mobile testing units have also been rolled out in south Essex, to give residents access to fast Lateral Flow Tests, with the new Pitsea Testing Centre available from this week. A further 10 sites are scheduled to roll out over the coming weeks.

Postal test kits for asymptomatic people will also shortly be available to collect from local sites across Essex.

Cllr John Spence, ECC’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “The latest Covid figures for Essex do not make for positive reading and the severity of the situation has been further reinforced this week by the Government’s decision to move most areas of the county to Tier 3.

“I know this latest news has been extremely disappointing for lots of people and we are continuing to do everything we can to manage this. However, for any action we take and the measures we put in place to be as effective as possible, we need every resident in Essex to continue playing their part too.

“This means continuing to follow the guidelines around social distancing, hand-washing and wearing a face covering, as well as working from home wherever possible. These actions are more critical than ever as we approach the easing of restrictions over Christmas.”

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