169 new cases of COVID-19 in Fishponds area as Bristol infection rate passes Liverpool's
BRISTOL’S coronavirus infection rate is now higher than Liverpool’s, Mayor Marvin Rees has warned, as almost 170 new cases are confirmed in the Fishponds area.
The northern city was the first to be placed in Tier 3 – the highest level of alert announced by the Government last month before it decided to impose a second national lockdown, which began at midnight.
But Bristol now has a higher rate of COVID-19 infection per 100,000 people and is almost double the average in England as a whole.
Official figures released yesterday, covering the seven days to last Friday, showed 1,875 new cases had been confirmed over that week – a rise of 271 on the previous week's total.
Localised figures from the Office for National Statistics showed 169 new cases had been confirmed in the Greater Fishponds area: 40 in Fishponds North, which includes Oldbury Court, Manor Road and the top end of Fishponds Road (up by 60% on the previous week); 28 in Fishponds South, which includes Hillfields (up 33.3%); 32 in Eastville (the same number as the previous week) ; 41 in Stapleton (up 95%) and 28 in Speedwell (up 86.7%), which includes roads around Lodge Causeway, Forest Road, Whitefield Road and Ridgeway Road. Confirmed case rates are all well above the national average of 229.4 per 100,000 people.
The nearby ONS Frenchay and Great Stoke area, which includes UWE's Frenchay campus, saw 131 new cases in the week to October 30, up 11% on the previous week and representing a case rate of 822.2 cases per 100,000, the highest in the region.
Recorded deaths involving COVID-19 are starting to increase again, with four reported in the week to October 23 in the latest figures available, up from two in the previous week and none in the two weeks before that.
Speaking during a Facebook live broadcast last night, Mr Rees said: “As of 4pm today, the total number of cases in Bristol is 7,786 since the pandemic began.
“Our current incidence level of Covid is 404.6 cases per 100,000 people.
“The England average is 229.4, Liverpool 357, Manchester 476 and Nottingham 391.
“Obviously we are in that really challenging area now above the national average.
“We are still not where Manchester is but hopefully the measures being taken will stem the tide, and I know we have lost a few cases per 100,000 in the past few days.
“In Bath and North East Somerset there are 241, South Gloucestershire 272 and North Somerset 171.
“We are part of the South West and historically have done relatively well but we are a major city and those challenges are going to come our way.
“But we stay on the front foot trying to tackle this virus.”
The mayor said the region’s R number – how many people one infected person will pass the virus onto on average – now stood between 1.2 and 1.5.
He said: “It’s above one which indicates that a positive case will deliver more than one other positive case.
“Ten cases will infect 12 to 15 other people, so we need to get that below one.”
Mr Rees said Bristol City Council only found out about the four-week national lockdown at the same time as everyone else, which was “frustrating”.
“It leaves us as local leaders on the back foot, but the team worked incredibly hard at the weekend,” he said.
He said everyone must stay home and only leave for a limited number of reasons.
“Those include education, work if you cannot work from home, exercise and leisure outdoors with your household, support bubble or one other person from another household, for medical reasons, such as appointments, or to escape injury or harm,” he said.
“We want to stress that. There was a concern for some people for whom home was not the safest place and felt trapped – you can leave your home if you fear for your safety.”
Other reasons to go out include shopping for food and essentials, caring for vulnerable people and volunteering.
Mr Rees said: “Schools, colleges and universities can remain open.
“You can form a childcare support bubble with one other household for childcare.
“Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will close, click-and-collect services will continue and essential shops including supermarkets will remain open.
“Pubs, bars and restaurants must close except for takeaway deliveries.
“No wedding ceremonies can take place.
“There is no change to funerals – 30 guests are able to go to a funeral, 50 to scatter ashes or attend a burial.
“Places of worship will be closed, except for funerals.
“On care homes, we’re still awaiting government guidance on visits.
“The furlough scheme will be open until December now, with employees receiving 80 per cent of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.”
According to the Centre for Cities, which analyses the scale of Covid-19 in UK urban areas, Bristol’s rate of 404.6 per 100,000 people places it 12th highest in the country.
As of November 3, Blackburn topped the list on 732 ahead of Wigan, Manchester, Doncaster, Bradford, Barnsley, Warrington, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Sheffield and Leeds.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service