COVID figures released for Greater Manchester
The Mayor of Greater Manchester held his weekly press conference yesterday (20 January) updating the media on Greater Manchester COVID-19 figures. The first half-hour of the conference was devoted to flooding issues and Covid-safe rest centres for anyone who needed to evacuate. It was also noted that this week’s figures are showing the ‘Christmas effect’, i.e. the result of increased mixing at Christmas.
This puts us in a good position regarding exiting national lockdown
The headline news is that Greater Manchester is below the national average and that “this puts us in a good position regarding exiting national lockdown.” Mr Burnham also reiterated his support for vaccinating teachers and school staff in order to expedite reopening schools.
The number of positive diagnoses of COVID-19 per 100,000 population fell this week to 392.1 for the whole of Greater Manchester, down from 453.7. The most significant decrease has been in Trafford, while figures have remained steady in Bolton. Manchester central continues to have the highest case rate out of the ten areas with 445.9. The national average is around 500 so Greater Manchester is well below that.
All areas have seen a decrease in case rate which is “clear evidence that national lockdown is working,” according to the Mayor.
The decrease has not been seen as clearly in the over 60s and that is something that needs “keeping an eye on,” said Mr Burnham.
Levels of testing have increased, which is linked to support from the military administering lateral flow tests.
Hospital admission figures are released as an indicator of stress on the health service. Weekly admissions are up again as the effect of the third wave feeds through to the figures. There are 157 people in critical care beds and 181 in other hospital beds, which is an increase on the week before.
Latest modelling suggests the highest pressure on the NHS will be seen sometime next week, and will then plateau for around three weeks. Mr Burnham said, “the position will be extremely challenging for some weeks to come.”
Medium and smaller-sized hospitals are seeing the most pressure, with more capacity in the larger institutions, meaning that outlying areas will be facing the most difficulties. The system is managed as a whole across the area so hospitals should be able to help each other.
There is a slight upturn in residents showing symptoms of coronavirus from 1.0% to 2.1% which is a “cause for concern, according to Mr Burnham. The vaccination programme for care home residents is currently 65% (at the end of last week) and is expected to be completed next week which Mr Burnham called “real progress”.
Approximately 195,771 people from the priority groups have been vaccinated. In percentage terms that is a third of the way through the top four groups which need to be vaccinated by mid-February. There is a good supply of vaccine this week but there are signs that might be reduced: "in the last day or so, some doubts have crept in about the supply line,” according to the Mayor. Mr Burnham thanked all the workers and volunteers involved in the programme in 75 vaccination sites across the city.