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7,600 Covid-19 infections confirmed in a week in Cambridgeshire - but true number could be much higher



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The Covid-19 infection rate in Cambridgeshire is continuing to climb, with 7,599 cases confirmed in a week - and the true level could be much higher.

Government figures suggest the case rate grew by 14.4 per cent in the seven days to March 20, compared to the previous week. Below we look at how every area is affected.

But new modelling published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests only one in eight people infected with the virus were counted on the government’s dashboard in the early March. It estimates there were 3.1 million new infections across the country in the week to March 9.

Daily new Covid-19 infections in the UK, based on an ONS infection survey. Graphic: PA
Daily new Covid-19 infections in the UK, based on an ONS infection survey. Graphic: PA

Government figures have always under-represented the true level of Covid-19 in the country, because they rely on people taking a test and choosing to report the result.

The gap appears to have grown much wider since the start of the year, with the ONS estimating the number of new infections was three times the equivalent government total in January, five times by mid-February and eight times in early March.

Its modelling is based on results collected as part of the ONS weekly Covid-19 infection survey of private households.

Professor Kevin McConway, of the Open University, said: “If people aren’t being tested, or aren’t reporting the results, then the trends in dashboard case rates aren’t going to reflect what’s really going on in the country.

“That’s exactly why we need the ONS survey – it isn’t affected by that issue, because people are tested, regardless of symptoms, just to estimate how the pandemic is developing.”

Free universal testing ends on April 1, meaning we will no longer get the same figures from the government.

The latest wave of infections, which follows the lifting of restrictions, is being driven by the Omicron sub-variant BA.2, a more transmissable form of the virus, the ONS said.

This week, Jyoti Atri, director of public health in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, urged those who are unwell with Covid not to go into work, as they may have done with some illnesses pre-pandemic.

“We won’t have testing freely available after April 1. I think there is a bit of a cultural shift needed,” she said, suggesting the increased ability to work from home now meant many could continue to do their jobs, if well enough, without risking transmitting the virus further.

The 7,599 confirmed cases in Cambridgeshire in the week to March 20 was up 958 on the previous week, taking the infection rate to 1,156.3 cases per 100,000 people, which was higher than the national average.

Examining cases by age shows rises in cases for all groups over 15, including a concerning rise in the 90-plus age group.

Cambridgeshire, excluding Peterborough, has now recorded:

  • 193,028 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of March 25, 2022
  • 7,828 in the seven days to March 25 according daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 1,028 deaths by March 25 within 28 days of a positive test, with the latest on March 23, 22 and two on March 21
  • 1,201 deaths, as of March 11, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

Hospitalisations

Cambridge University Hospitals had 88 patients Covid-19 patients on its wards on Friday (March 25), compared to 76 the previous Friday and 54 the Friday before that.

It means Addenbrooke’s has similar numbers on its wards to the winter Omicron peak.

There are long waits in the emergency department and cancellations of some planned surgery.

At Royal Papworth, there were seven Covid-19 patients on March 22, tcompared to 11 a week earlier. Three of them were in ventilation beds.

Vaccinations

More than 1.5 million Covid-19 jabs have been administered in Cambridgeshire, with 82.3 per cent of over-12s having received a first dose, 78.4 per cent having had a second and 65 per cent having received a third.

Waning immunity means a spring booster programme for those aged 75 and older, and those aged 12 years and older who are severely immunosuppressed, is coming. Eligible people will be contacted six months after their last dose.

Jabs are available on a walk-on basis at all Cambridgeshire’s large-scale vaccination sites.

Booking is available if preferred via www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine.

Cambridge

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Cambridge rose by 231 (17.4 per cent) to 1,557 in the week to March 20, compared to the previous seven days.

The infection rate was 1,245 cases per 100,000 people.

Trumpington, with 233 cases, up from 161, was the worst affected area.

Cambridge has recorded:

  • 39,775 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of March 25, 2022
  • 1,652 in the seven days to March 25, according daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 123 deaths by March 25 within 28 days of a positive test, including one on February 16, on on February 13, one on February 12 and one on February 11
  • 167 deaths, as of March 11, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

South Cambridgeshire

There were 2,022 confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Cambridgeshire in the week to March 20, up 213 (11.8 per cent) on the previous week. The infection rate was 1,256.6 cases per 100,000 people.

The highest number of cases were found in Histon, Impington and Orchard Park, where 162 were reported.

South Cambridgeshire has recorded:

  • 47,602 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of March 25, 2022
  • 2,045 in the last seven days to March 25, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 211 deaths by March 25 within 28 days of a positive test, with the latest on March 23 and 22
  • 250 deaths, as of March 11, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

East Cambridgeshire

There were 1,123 confirmed cases in East Cambridgeshire in the week to March 20, up 144 (14.7 per cent) on the previous week.

The infection rate was 1,245.4 cases per 100,000 people. North Ely, with 178 cases, down one on the previous week, was worst affected.

East Cambridgeshire has recorded:

  • 24,742 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of March 25, 2022
  • 1,124 cases in the seven days to March 25, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 106 deaths by March 25 within 28 days of a positive test, the latest of which was on February 28
  • 130 deaths, as of March 11, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

Huntingdonshire

There were 1,966 confirmed cases in Huntingdonshire in the week to March 20, up 190 cases (10.7 per cent) on the previous seven days.

The infection rate was 1,098.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Little Paxton, Love's Farm and Great Gransden was the worst affected area, with 139 cases.

Huntingdonshire has recorded:

  • 52,075 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of March 25, 2022
  • 1,995 cases in the seven days to March 25, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 321 deaths by March 25 within 28 days of a positive test, with the latest on March 21, 18 and 17
  • 363 deaths, as of March 11, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

Fenland

The number of confirmed cases in Fenland rose by nearly a quarter in a week.

There were 931 cases in the week to March 20, up 180 (24 per cent) on the previous week.

The infection rate was 912 cases per 100,000 people.

Worst affected was Chatteris, with 123 cases.

Fenland has recorded:

  • 28,834 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of March 25, 2022
  • 1,012 cases in the seven days to March 25, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 267 deaths by March 25 within 28 days of a positive test, the latest of which was on March 21, with two on March 19
  • 291 deaths, as of March 11, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

Peterborough

Peterborough had 1,584 confirmed cases in the week to March 20, up 213 (15.5 per cent) on the previous week. The infection rate was 781.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Orton West and Castor was worst affected, with 118 cases.

Peterborough has recorded:

  • 70,536 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of March 25, 2022
  • 1,624 cases in the seven days to March 25, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 435 deaths by March 25 within 28 days of a positive test, including a death on March 14 and 12
  • 483 deaths, as of March 11, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

The global picture

Vaccinations by country

Hospitalisations

Variants


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