COVID update April 3rd, 2021:
This week’s update is shorter than usual as data is not readily available over the Easter weekend and we are now in the ‘hiatus’ for vaccine supply until things pick-up again in the second half of April. However, despite that the number of people having received their first dose has now increased to 31.4m and second doses now amount to 5.2m. Second doses are now outnumbering first time doses on a daily basis as many people are now coming up to the 12-week cap after their first jab.
The COVID infection rates continue to head in the right direction. Yesterday some 3402 new cases were detected, down 26.6% over the last week putting the UK down at 33rd in the new cases table for countries with over 20m population. The number of hospitalisations has also continued to fall drastically and is now down to 3723 nationally, a fall of 23.5% on last week.
There was further welcome news yesterday as the Government announced that as from April 12th the number of visitors allowed to visit loved ones in care homes will increase from 1 to 2 whilst babies and infants under 2 will also be able to attend so people can get to see their young grandchildren.
As regards foreign travel the Government is expected to make further announcements in the next few weeks but with a further 4 countries going on the ‘Red List’ prohibiting travel to the UK, I would still not be in any hurry to book a foreign holiday any time soon.
Although it was originally anticipated that first doses would not be bookable at the Sussex mass vaccination centres in April until supplies picked up again, the vaccination centres at Brighton, Chichester, Crawley and Eastbourne have remained open for first dose appointments, and so anyone remaining in priority groups 1-9 can book their appointment through the National Booking Service. Second dose vaccinations will start at the Brighton Centre from April 13th.
There are plenty of appointments available at the mass vaccination centres next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (7-9 April) and also for the week commencing 12 April, and the CCG is keen for anyone remaining in the priority groups to come forward. The local GP hubs continue to work through the 9-priority cohort ‘stragglers’ for first doses and increasingly offering second doses. None are routinely offering jabs to those beyond the 9 priority cohorts (i.e. under 50’s without complications or NHS/care staff) yet and we await further news when that will start.
Worthing surgeries operated a drop-in service for local patients in those cohorts last weekend which cleared a lot of the outstanding people still to have their first jab. The Lancing hub has been operating over the Easter weekend and when I was down there yesterday morning, we were providing a second jab of the Pfizer vaccine to mostly older people. Lancing Parish Hall has now vaccinated over 12,300 of the 24,000 eligible people (adding in those local patients who have had their jab elsewhere the total now covered is 15,200) and they have done 950 second vaccines. They are on target to have vaccinated 90% of everyone in cohorts 1-9 by mid-April.
Figures to date for the 9 priority cohorts in West Sussex and their % take up are below:
- Care Home Residents & Residential Care Workers – 98.4%
- 80+ & Health and Social Care Workers – 93.2%
- 75-79 – 94.7%
- 70-74 & CEV – 93.2%
- 65-69 – 89.9%
- At Risk – 84.3%
- 60-64 – 85.2%
- 55-59 – 83.2%
- 50-54 – 80.8%
- Across the East Worthing & Shoreham constituency as at March 28th some 51,748 people had been given at least a first vaccination. That represents around 69% of the local adult population, so we are well over two thirds the way there on first doses.
- COVID infection rates continue to fall sharply locally. In Adur the infection rate per 100,000 people is down to 15.6 and in Worthing it is only slightly ahead now at 20.8. This compares very favourably with the England average of 49.9.
- As I reported last week the Gold Group set up to monitor COVID cases at hospitals in the newly merged Sussex University Hospitals Trust has now been stood down given numbers are so low. I am only aware of one case at Worthing Hospital and there was one death in the last week. Nationally the running weekly average for deaths is down to 43 a day, again a very encouraging fall of 38.2% over the week.
So, thank you to everyone who is doing their bit. Have a very Happy Easter but please remember to keep your distance and don’t mix indoors.