Bedford's Covid case rate is falling slowly - but there are more people in hospital

The number of inpatients at Bedford Hospital is close to the peak occupancy during the first wave in April 2020
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Bedford borough’s overall Covid case rate is falling, but it is falling more slowly than the rest of the region, a meeting heard.

Ian Brown, Bedford Borough Council’s chief officer in public health, told Thursday’s (November 11) Local Outbreak Board that Covid case rates in the borough are coming down “very slowly”.

He said: “In the most recent seven days for which we have complete data, we had 746 cases, or 427 per hundred thousand.

Bedford borough's Covid case rate is falling slowly, a meeting heardBedford borough's Covid case rate is falling slowly, a meeting heard
Bedford borough's Covid case rate is falling slowly, a meeting heard

“Which is above the regional average, and above our neighbours in Luton and Milton Keynes, but a bit lower than Central Bedfordshire, which has one of the highest rates in the country at the moment.”

Mr Brown said the seven day average is falling very slowly at the moment, and provisional data suggests that this fall is going to continue.

Although the rate in the over 60s hasn’t begun to fall yet, he added and remains “stubbornly high” at above 200 per 100,000.

“Unfortunately that is having an impact, I believe, on our hospital rates, we’re seeing the number of inpatients of Bedford Hospital increasing,” he said.

“In fact, it’s now close to the peak occupancy we saw during the first wave in April 2020, and it’s the highest level since the middle of February of this year.”

He added that this is on top of the “significant winter pressures” that the hospital is feeling as well.

The most recent ONS data (week ending October 29) showed that there were three Covid-related deaths registered, which was down from four the week before.

“So, we are still recording a significant number of Covid related deaths every week,” he said.

The board was told the rate has fallen “dramatically” in 11-15-year-olds, and there has been “quite a big fall” in 5-10-year-olds.

The 0-4-year-olds have remained relatively stable and among the lower rates that we have in the age groups. But the 16 -22-year-olds have increased.

The 23-29-year-olds, the 30-39-year-olds and the 40- 59-year-olds now all have a similar rate of 400 to 500 per 100,000.

Mr Brown also gave an update on the booster campaign, he said:

“We’re yet to locally see an impact of the booster campaign on the rates, particularly in the over 80s who are the first to get the booster.

“But we are seeing nationally a bit of a downturn in that age group, in both cases and in hospital admissions, so that would suggest that the booster campaign is having an impact.

“And we know that the boosters are incredibly effective, so we’re strongly promoting that in the next days and weeks,” he said.

The Board was told that the advice to residents hasn’t changed, Mr Brown concluded by saying: “If you have symptoms, please stay home and book a test,

“Please test twice a week anyway, even if you don’t have symptoms with natural flow tests.

“Please meet outdoors if you can, if you are indoors in busy and crowded places, then please do wear your face covering.

“And of course get your vaccinations, including the booster,” he said.