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Covid-19 analysis for Cambridgeshire: Cases hit record levels among children aged 5-9





The return of schools has led to a record number of Covid-19 cases among children aged 5-9 in Cambridgeshire, but it is a mixed picture among secondary school age groups, where masks were mandatory in classrooms until Thursday (January 20).

Overall, the county witnessed a decline in confirmed cases in the seven days to January 16, but preliminary data suggests numbers have risen sharply again in the last few days.

Below, we take a look at the numbers of cases in every area of the county, down to a neighbourhood level, and look at vaccination rates, hospitalisations and deaths.

Masks are no longer mandatory in secondary school classrooms.
Masks are no longer mandatory in secondary school classrooms.

In the week to January 16, Cambridgeshire had 6,602 confirmed Covid-19 cases, down by 1,970 (23 per cent) on the previous seven days.

The infection rate of 1,004.6 cases per 100,000 people was, however, above the national average of 925.2.

However, if we take the preliminary daily case data - which is subject to some change - it suggests a significant rise in infections, with 8,081 cases in the seven days to January 21.

The 1,467 cases reported on Friday (January 21) was the sixth highest daily number in Cambridgeshire since the pandemic began.

While the fall in cases in the middle of the month is likely to represent the dropping off from the impact of festive mixing, it could also reflect a decline in the numbers of people testing and reporting their results.

The subsequent rise, however, appears to be related to the return of schools.

Looking at cases by age, for the week to January 16, we can see a huge rise in cases among primary school age children, with 995 cases among those aged 5-9 - roughly double the number seen in preceding weeks. Numbers are also up significantly among those aged 0-4.

The numbers have also risen among those aged 10-14 to above December and November levels, but have not reached the heights seen in October. And the case numbers were actually down week-on-week among those aged 15-19.

There could be multiple reasons for this. It may reflect the fact that many in these age groups had Covid-19 at the end of 2021.

But the contrast with primary school age children could also partly reflect the fact that many in these age groups attend secondary schools, where face masks were mandatory until the government announced the staged lifting of Plan B restrictions this week.

As of Thursday (January 20), masks were no longer mandatory in classrooms, and the advice to wear masks in communal areas will end on January 27 in line with other Plan B measures.

Some education leaders have expressed surprise at the decision and many schools are expected to retain masks for now as Omicron continues to spread and take its toll on pupil and staff numbers.

The infection rate among those aged 5-9 in Cambridgeshire was at a record high in the week to January 16.

National data for the UK shows that among working age adults, more females are now getting Covid-19 than men.

While the reason for this is uncertain, it has been suggested this could partly reflect more mothers picking it up from young children than fathers, and the fact that Omicron is currently prevalent in childcare settings, and there are a higher proportion of female nursery and primary school teachers than male. However, since the phenomenon is being seen among all age groups from 20-64, there may be other factors, such as different attitudes towards testing between men and women.

Cambridgeshire, excluding Peterborough, has now recorded:

  • 132,963 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of January 21, 2022
  • 6,217 in the five days from January 17-21 according daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 947 deaths by January 21 within 28 days of a positive test, with five on January 19, one on January 18, one on January 16 and three on January 14
  • 1,117 deaths, as of January 7, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

Cambridgeshire’s director of public health, Jyoti Atri, urged caution following the government’s announcement that Plan B restrictions - such as work from home guidance - were ending.

She warned that in addition to high rates in primary schools, there had also been outbreaks at care homes, some of them described as “large-scale”.

“What we need to do is to drive home that actually our rates are still high and that we have got lower vaccination coverage in some of our areas, which increases risk,” she said. “Things locally may not look exactly like what is happening nationally and I think that’s the key message to drive home.

“Things are not good here at the moment and we need to persevere with our personal protective measures and taking up the vaccine as much as possible at least until our rates start to go down.

“I am mindful of the toll this is taking on all of us, all of us as workforce but the public as well, and how tired people are - the mental wellbeing stresses that are on people.”

Hospitalisations

The numbers of Covid patients at Addenbrooke’s has been fluctuating, but was back up on Friday (January 21), with 68, but none of them was in critical care. There were 26 inpatients awaiting Covid test results.

At Royal Papworth Hospital, there were 12 Covid patients on January 18, 10 of whom were on ventilation beds.

Vaccinations

Some 1,467,163 vaccinations have been administered in Cambridgeshire, with 81.7 per cent of over-12s have received their first dose, 76.3 per cent getting their second and 62 per cent having received their booster, or third, dose.

Among those aged 18-24, 40.4 per cent have had their booster.

From Monday, January 24, those aged 12-15 who are not in an at risk group and need their second dose can walk in to a large-scale vaccination centre. Previously they had to book.

All other age groups seeking first or second doses, or boosters, can already use these centres on a walk-in basis. The only exception is Chesterton Indoor Bowls Club, which offers appointments only due to limited parking.

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

Jan Thomas, the accountable officer at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said this week that there are around 150,000 people who have yet to have their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

She said it is becoming “increasingly rare” for anyone who is fully vaccinated to end up in intensive care with coronavirus.

Meanwhile, there is concern that some frontline staff at Cambridge University Hospitals may lose their jobs with more than 200 still unvaccinated, and the mandatory vaccination deadline for them is nearing.

Cambridge

Confirmed Covid numbers in the week to January 16 fell slightly in Cambridge, with 1,533 cases, down 146 (-8.7 per cent) on the previous week.

This took the infection rate to 1,225.8 cases per 100,000 people, which was above the national average of 925.2.

Trumpington, with 181 cases (down from 205), had the highest number, but all but two areas had more than 100 cases. Eddington and Castle, with 98, and Petersfield, with 86, were the exceptions.

Daily case data, which is subject to change, suggests the numbers have been climbing in the city in the last few days, however, with 1,784 cases reported in the seven days to January 21.

The 332 reported on Friday (January 21) was the joint highest daily number in Cambridge, shared with the January 4 figure, of the entire pandemic.

There has been one Covid-related death in the city this year.

Cambridge has recorded:

  • 26,160 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of January 21, 2022
  • 1,384 in the five days from January 17-21, according daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 112 deaths by January 21 within 28 days of a positive test, the most recent of which was on January 18
  • 154 deaths, as of January 7, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

South Cambridgeshire

The 1,541 Covid-19 cases confirmed in South Cambridgeshire in the seven days to January 16 represented a decline of 412 (21.1 per cent) on the previous week.

The infection rate of 957.7 cases per 100,000 was narrowly above the national average, however.

Four areas recorded more than 100 cases each - Histon, Impington and Orchard Park (145), Meldreth, Melbourn and Great Chishill (125), Cambourne (105) and Papworth, Caxton and Fen Drayton (103). Bar Hill and Boxworth, with 32 cases, had the fewest.

As with Cambridge, the infection rate appears to be back on the rise in recent days, with preliminary data for the seven days to January 21 suggesting 2,047 cases. The 368 reported on January 19 was the fifth highest daily figure in South Cambridgeshire in the whole pandemic.

There have been seven Covid-related deaths in the district so far this year.

South Cambridgeshire has recorded:

  • 31,934 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of January 21, 2022
  • 1,581 cases in the five days from January 17-21, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 184 deaths by January 14 within 28 days of a positive test, the last of which were on January 19, 16 and 14, with two on January 6 and 4
  • 227 deaths, as of January 7, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

East Cambridgeshire

Confirmed Covid-19 cases fell by a quarter in the week to January 16 in East Cambridgeshire, with 803 recorded, down 268 (25 per cent) on the previous seven days.

Soham, with 135 cases, and Isleham, Fordham and Chippenham, with 112, had the highest numbers, while Dullingham and Cheveley, with 33, had the fewest.

But preliminary data again suggests a rise in numbers in the last week, as with neighbouring districts. There were 1,083 cases in the seven days to January 21, according to these early figures, in East Cambridgeshire.

The 190 reported on Friday (January 21) was the fifth highest daily figure of the pandemic in the district, which has recorded one Covid-related death this year.

East Cambridgeshire has recorded:

  • 16,606 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of January 21, 2022
  • 818 cases in the five days from January 17-21, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 103 deaths by January 21 within 28 days of a positive test, the latest of which was on January 14
  • 127 deaths, as of January 7, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

Huntingdonshire

The 1,642 cases seen in Huntingdonshire in the week to January 16 represented a fall of 944 (36.5 per cent) on the previous week.

Four areas had more than 100 cases - Yaxley and Farcet (135), Huntingdon Central and West (126), Huntingdon Sapley and Oxmoor (103) and Houghton, Hemingford and Fenstanton (101).

Stilton, Elton and Folksworth, with 38, had the fewest.

The infection rate of 917.4 cases per 100,000 was narrowly below the national average.

But as elsewhere in the county, the early data for recent days suggests the numbers are on the rise in Huntingdonshire, with 1,895 cases reported in the seven days to January 21.

The district has recorded 11 Covid-related deaths this year.

Huntingdonshire has recorded:

  • 38,005 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of January 21, 2022
  • 1,451 cases in the five days from January 17-21, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 296 deaths by January 21 within 28 days of a positive test, including two on January 19, and one each every day from January 8-12
  • 338 deaths, as of January 7, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

Fenland

Fenland recorded 1,083 cases in the week to January 16, which was down by 200 (15.6 per cent) on the previous week.

The infection rate of 1,060.9 cases per 100,000 people was above the national average.

Four areas had more than 100 cases - Wisbech South and Peckover (157), Wisbech North (141), Whittlesey (141) and Chatteris (122), while Coates, Benwick and Pondersbridge had the fewest, with 40.

As with every other area of the county, early case data suggests the infection rate is back on the rise in Fenland, with 1,273 cases reported in the seven days to January 21.

There have been eight Covid-related deaths in the district so far this year.

Fenland has recorded:

  • 20,258 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of January 21, 2022
  • 983 cases in the five days from January 17-21, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 252 deaths by January 21 within 28 days of a positive test, including two on January 19, one on January 14, one on January 12 and two on January 11
  • 271 deaths, as of January 7, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

Peterborough

There were 3,080 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Peterborough in the week to January 16 down 390 (11.2 per cent) on the previous week.

The infection rate of 1,520 cases per 100,000 people was well above the national average.

Stanground, with 260 cases, Paston, with 214, and Hampton Vale, with 205, were the worst hit, while Eye and Thorney, along with Glinton, Northborough and Maxey, had the fewest., with 67.

Preliminary daily case data again suggests the infection rate has been on the rise in recent days, with 3,454 cases reported in the seven days to January 21.

There have nine Covid-related deaths in Peterborough so far this year.

Peterborough has recorded:

  • 52,267 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, as of January 21, 2022
  • 2,598 cases in the five days from January 17-21, according to daily case data, which is subject to change
  • 402 deaths by January 21 within 28 days of a positive test, with the latest on January 17, 14 and 13, with two on January 12 and one on January 6
  • 441 deaths, as of January 7, in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate

The global picture

Vaccinations by country

Hospitalisations

Variants

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