Gloucestershire would be in ‘high risk’ Tier 2 if lockdown ended today and the tier system remained the same from before, the county’s public health chief has said, as local case rates continue to rise.
However Gloucestershire’s director of public health Sarah Scott said it is not known which tier the county will fall into under the new ‘strengthened’ system, which will see tougher measures in place for those in areas under high or very high alert until next Spring.
Before the lockdown started earlier this month all parts of Gloucestershire were in Tier 1, otherwise known as ‘medium risk’ areas where the most minimum of restrictions applied such as the rule of six.
But England will not be returning to the same tier system that was in place before.
The system will still have three tiers – with Tier 1 enjoying the most freedom, and Tier 3 seeing the strictest lockdown measures.
It is not clear which tier the county will be in until this Thursday (November 26) when the Government is expected to set out a full list of which areas will be under which tier.
Sarah Scott, director of public health at Gloucestershire County Council said: “We don’t know yet which tier the county will be in after December 2 but if lockdown ended today and the tiers had remained the same, Gloucestershire would be classified as a ‘high risk’ area, with restrictions like no meeting indoors remaining in force.
“Towards the end of August we had 46 cases in a week, by mid November, we were recording more than 1,000, with 24 recent Covid-19 related deaths being recorded by the ONS.
“Covid has not gone anywhere and the numbers locally are still going up. We must do all we can to minimise onward infection. Please, please, please follow the guidance.”
Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson said more areas will be under higher tiers than before the second lockdown.
According to NHS England figures released on November 23, five people died after contracting coronavirus in Gloucestershire bring the total to 601 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Between November 10 to 16, a total of 58 Covid-related deaths were confirmed throughout the county.
A further 94 further positive tests have been recorded in the past 24 hours.
Last night Public Health England released the latest infection rate for every area in England, and the numbers will help inform officials which tier areas will be placed into.
Gloucester currently has the highest infection rate in the county, followed by Cheltenham and then Stroud, according to the data.
Stroud and the Cotswolds however have seen a drop in the rate of infection from the week up to November 12.
In the week up to November 19, the figures for cases per 100,000 people in Gloucestershire’s districts are:
Gloucester: 233.1 (301), up from 156.4 (202) the week before.
Cheltenham: 158.2 (184), up from 154.8 (180) the week before.
Stroud: 157.5 (189), down from 185.1 (222) the week before.
Tewkesbury: 153.7 (146), up from 124.2 (118) the week before.
Forest of Dean: 137.1 (119), up from 106.0 (92) the week before.
Cotswold: 95.7 (86), down from 173.6 (156) the week before
Meanwhile, last week the chief executive of Gloucestershire’s two main hospitals Deborah Lee said there were 132 people in hospital with Covid-19 as of November 18. as well as five patients in critical care.
She said Gloucestershire was “fast approaching” the peak for hospital admissions in the the first wave in April, which was 148, and added that the rate of new cases coming into the hospitals each day was “slowing”.
Tier positions will be reviewed every fortnight, and decisions will be made by looking at the following criteria:
- case numbers in all age groups
- case numbers specifically in the over 60s
- rates by which cases are falling or rising
- infection rates per 100,000 people
- the projected pressures on the NHS
For more information about the difference between the different tiers, click here.