Our weekly round-up of coronavirus news - 15 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 take-home message was: "Go out, enjoy yourself, but maintain hygiene, maintain social distancing rules because although this is a very positive direction we are not out of the woods yet."
The overall case rate for Greater Manchester was 45.3 cases per 100,000 population up to the end of last week, as opposed to nearly 63.5 cases the previous week.
All areas of GM have seen a decrease, with an especially remarkable drop in Tameside from 73.7 to 37.5 - nearly halving the number of cases.
GMCA also took the new step of breaking down the figures into "all ages", as compared to the rates for over 60s. Over 60s are more likely to be seriously ill and more likely to be admitted to hospital with coronavirus, so tracking how this segment of the population fares is a good indicator of progress.
Sir Richard Leese said: "One health warning for these figures is that as we start getting into these much lower numbers, very small numbers of cases can have quite a significant impact on percentages. So there will be some 'lumpiness' around this but overall it is a really positive story."
Sir Richard is most likely referring to small increases for areas that show overall reductions when viewed from the perspective of all ages.
There have been 1,279,347 first doses of vaccine delivered as of yesterday (14 April). Around 350,000 second doses have been administered and the vaccine drive will be concentrating on second doses from now on.
Sir Richard said: "Vaccination is having a real impact in reducing transmission as well as reducing the extent that people who do contract the virus suffer as a consequence.
"It is really important that people do get their second vaccinations... it reduces the risk of further outbreaks and of variants that are vaccine-resistant. If you get called for your second vaccination, get your second vaccination."
People over 45 can now book through the national booking system.
The number of care home residents showing symptoms of coronavirus has dropped to 0.6% which Sir Richard said said "can't go much lower. A number of districts are now able to report zero cases."
There has been a national debate about whether vaccination should be mandatory for care home staff. Sir Richard said: "Increasingly we are able to report very high levels of vaccination for care home staff which is very positive news."
This means many care home residents may now be able to have visitors which is good news for their quality of life.
Hospital admissions are showing some instability, with 41 people admitted with COVID-19 over the last week. Add to this the 42 in-patient diagnoses and the total of 83 people newly in hospital with the disease. Sir Richard commented once again that the lower the figures go the more likely there is to be some statistical ups and downs.
The total number of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 is 231. Around a fifth of these are in intensive care or high dependency beds.
Hospital occupancy for all types of illness is around 85% but only 4% of that is due to COVID-19 cases.
There is still a massive backlog of elective surgeries to clear and it will probably be around June before we can have "everything firing on all cylinders," says Sir Richard.