No singular cause of the higher infection rate in Bedford, claims Deep Dive report

And although the infection rate has declined, there has been an increase in new infections in the last two weeks, reveals study

The final Deep Dive Report into why Bedford had such a high infection rate has failed to find one singular cause.

Last month, Bedford Today revealed the interim findings, which showed women aged 30 to 59 had most been affected by the virusBut the final Bedford Borough COVID-19 Deep Dive Final Report has confirmed that no one cause can be given for the previous high infection rate - which at the time was the highest in the East of England.

It did, however, reveal that since mid June, the COVID-19 infection rate has declined.

Bedford (Google)

The joint investigation - carried out by Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire CCG, and Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre - found that most cases followed people being exposed within their households and household visitors, with exposures elsewhere remaining low.

The most recent cases have been among people of working age, and within Bedford town.

The investigation looked at coronavirus infections in healthcare settings, care homes and workplaces and concluded that there was no one cause of the higher local infection rate.

Action has now been taken to increase testing capacity at Bedford Hospital, and to increase engagement with communities where more cases were seen.

And while the local infection rate has decreased since mid-June, there has been an increase in new infections in the last two weeks, so the situation will be monitored closely and the public are being urged to remain cautious.

People are being reminded to continue to observe the two metre social distancing policy, wear a face covering – especially on public transport, shops, and crowded places, and wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or hand sanitiser if that is unavailable.

Dave Hodgson, Bedford Mayor, said: "Since the Deep Dive analysis was completed, the number of local cases has crept up and we continue to see a higher infection rate than the East of England average, so we cannot be complacent and must continue to follow social distancing and other advice.

"In terms of recent transmission and looking at how we can continue to control infection rates, what I take from this is the importance of good practices in all workplaces so employees can work safely, and the importance of every individual continuing to follow preventative measures in the home and while out and about.”

David Carter, CEO, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have increased the capacity for COVID-19 testing at Bedford Hospital that allows us to get a faster turnaround time (in 90mins) on results using new advanced technology.”