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Coronavirus: England’s 20 areas ‘most at risk of new outbreaks’ revealed

The Independent logo The Independent 12/07/2020 Colin Drury
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Sheffield, Bradford and Kirklees have been identified as the English areas most at risk of a renewed coronavirus surge, according to a leaked government document.

The three Yorkshire councils were classed as needing “enhanced support” in a list of 20 authorities that are facing potential Covid-19 spikes.

Six other areas were considered to be of “concern”: Blackburn with Darwen, Rochdale, Oldham, Rotherham, Barnsley and Bedford.

Leicester ⁠— currently experiencing the UK’s first local lockdown ⁠— remains the only place considered in need of intervention.

The table, reportedly compiled by Public Health England, charts the councils with the highest proportion of positive cases identified between 21 June and 4 July.

It uses six metrics to arrive at its ranking, including the number of cases per 100,000 of population per week and per day, the percentage of individuals testing positive as a proportion of all tests, and a criterion called “exceedances”. This ranks how many positive cases are being diagnosed as compared with a government algorithm forecast.

The chart, which was leaked to The Guardian, also shows the number of community outbreaks per council over the last week. Such outbreaks are classed as two or more positive tests in a single setting, such as a workplace, school or prison.

Other local authorities on the list but not yet considered worthy of either enhanced support or overt concern are Oadby and Wigston, Ashford, Folkestone and Hythe, Blaby, Northampton, Bolton, Hinckley and Bosworth, Kettering, Knowsley and Carlisle

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We have been transparent about our response to coronavirus and are always looking to improve the data we publish, including the way we update testing statistics.

“The list of the 10 local authorities with the highest weekly incidence of coronavirus is already publicly available in PHE’s weekly surveillance report.

“All councils in England now have the ability to access testing data, right down to an individual and postcode level. If councils feel they require more assistance with data, of course, PHE is able to help them.”


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