Bedford's latest Covid update 'most gloomy it's been in a while' - but town is not a hotspot

Vaccine "preventing 90% of hospitalizations and maybe 95% of deaths"
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The latest Covid update for Bedford borough is probably the most gloomy it's been for a while, but the borough isn't a hotspot, a meeting heard.

Ian Brown, chief officer for public health at Bedford Borough Council, was updating the council's Local Outbreak Engagement Board (October 14) on the latest Covid data.

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"I think it feels that these [charts] are probably the most gloomy they've been in a little while, which obviously is a big concern," he said.

Covid update is 'most gloomy it's been in a while'Covid update is 'most gloomy it's been in a while'
Covid update is 'most gloomy it's been in a while'

"We are seeing weekly case rates increasing at the moment, currently at 407 per 100,000 [as of October 13].

"But I can see that looking into this week's datum that's probably going to soon hit 450 per 100,000, and potentially increase further.

"We've also seen a trebling in our over-60s rates in the last three to four weeks as well, so that's now standing at 174 per 100,000 and still rising."

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Mr Brown said that the rates in Bedford are higher than those in Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, but that other parts of the region are experiencing rates "far in excess" of Bedford.

"So we certainly not a hotspot at the moment," he said. "But the direction of travel is a worry.

The higher rates in the over-60s is a concern because of the likelihood of serious illness, hospitalization or death.

"The number of inpatients to Bedford Hospital has almost trebled in the last two weeks."

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Mr Brown said that the weekly number of deaths with Covid on the death certificate has remained relatively stable, but that since August the number of excess Covid deaths has been higher than that experienced during the first delta wave, and is the highest number of deaths since the second wave ended.

He added that the vaccine is working "extremely well", and is "preventing 90% of hospitalizations and maybe 95% of deaths", but it's not preventing infections completely.

Vaccine effectiveness is waning for those who had their vaccines early on in the program, he said. This is why there is a booster program for everybody over 50 and various other groups, he added.

"The message that this has not gone away, and is still causing significant disruption and harm in our communities is a really important one," he said.

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Councillor Wendy Rider (LibDems, Brickhill Ward) thanked Mr Brown for the update, and commented, "I don't know about anybody else, but I certainly feel when I'm out and about we're not seeing people with masks on in the same way.

"I just get the feeling that since the prime minister lifted all the restrictions some people think we haven't got a problem [any more] but we have.

"The increase in these numbers possibly prove that."