Our weekly round-up of coronavirus news - 29 April
Data regarding the case rates, hospital occupancy and vaccinations has been released by GMCA today.
Sir Richard Leese addressed the press via a pre-recorded video which is now available via the GMCA Twitter feed.
Sir Richard's takeaway message this week was: "We are continuing in the right direction. We are on the trajectory for moving to the next stage to contuse to unlock in the middle of May but that does still depend on people getting vaccinated. That's both second doses and younger people getting vaccinated."
The overall rate for Greater Manchester is 34.9 cases per 100,000. Bolton has the highest rate with 47.3 while Wigan has the lowest rate at 23.9. Trafford, Salford and Stockport have all shown slight increases.
Sir Richard said; "The good news is that overall we are continuing to see a decline in prevalence... This is good progress in the right direction but this is not grounds for complacency. These numbers say that we still need to be taking measures to stay and keep other people safe so we can keep this trend going and continue the unlocking that will hopefully go to its next stage in around three weeks."
Regarding the over-60s, Sir Richard said: "Here there is a small upturn from the previous week's numbers. You'll see that in Manchester in particular there is a significant increase. Underlying that though, the trend is still down."
Care homes have hit an all time low with 0.2% of residents showing symptoms of COVID-19.
“Across our care homes that could just be a handful of people making that number up, hopefully we can eliminate it entirely,” said Sir Richard.
"Very positive news. Weekly admission are down to single figures and it's a long time since we've been able to say that," said Sir Richard. “The number of beds occupied is below 100, the first time for a very long time. Our hospitals are able to begin that journey to recovery. There are very large backlogs that have built up over the last 12 months and it will take time to clear those.”
Testing continues throughout the community. One novel testing solution is a yellow school bus wending its way round the streets of Stockport.
The school bus is being used by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council as a mobile testing site, providing rapid lateral flow testing for organisations, businesses and the public across the borough. Initially, the bus was used mainly by businesses to test their employees but following the government offer of universal testing to all adults any member of the public can now be tested.
The bus was donated by Transport for Greater Manchester.
"Whilst we are not in a competition with the rest of the country, we do see what is going on elsewhere. Greater Manchester is the best performing area in the north west area at the moment in terms of getting people vaccinated."
The vaccine programme is moving into the under 45 category.
Sir Richard urged people to book their vaccination appointment as quickly as possible. He added, "We are a long way off herd immunity. If our 18-49 year-olds don't take up vaccination we are unlikely to get there."