Coronavirus care home outbreaks behind rise in Gloucestershire

Views of Stroud.

Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes across parts of the Forest of Dean and Stroud were behind the “dramatic rise” in their local rate of infections, according to Gloucestershire’s public health chief.

Sarah Scott said the outbreaks recorded continued to show “relatively low” rates despite the increase, reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Coleford, in the Forest of Dean, as well as Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington, in the Stroud district, saw rising infection rates in the seven days to December 11.

Frampton, Whitminster and Eastington saw 38 infections among the 6,775 population – giving it an infection rate of 553.9.

Coleford saw 57 positive coronavirus tests in the same period among its 10,819 population – leaving an infection rate of 523.3.

Ms Scott, director of public health at the county council, said outbreaks in care homes were the cause of the increases and added they are “managing the situation actively”.

She said: “In areas where there are fewer positive cases, small outbreaks in households or care homes can cause a dramatic rise in the rates although the numbers are relatively low.

“We’re aware of the increase and are managing the situation actively.”

The public health boss is urging people to continue washing their hands, social distancing and wearing facemasks in public, and to be cautious over Christmas when rules are relaxed.

Ms Scott said: “However we urge people to remain vigilant to help stop the spread of the virus by remembering to regularly wash their hands, keep two metres apart from those not in their bubble and to wear facemasks in public.

“In addition, we are launching a campaign to remind residents that although many of us are looking forward to a break over Christmas we unfortunately cannot take a break from these measures to protect ourselves and our families.”

The data is presented by the Government at Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs).

These smaller areas with an average population of 7,200 are used to compare data at a more local level.

The Government also uses infection rates per 100,000 to more fairly compare the number of infections relative to the population of an area.

The average infection rate for England as a whole is 196.3, meaning the two areas of Gloucestershire are well above the national rate of infection.

Gloucestershire’s rate of infection for the week to December 11 is 135.1.

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