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This graph of seven-day cases of new infections per 100,000 population shows that Eastbourne had a relatively high number of new cases in late July/early August, Lewes suffered an increase in mid August and Hastings saw a jump in late August which took its rate above the England rate (source: Public Health England).

Coronavirus statistical update: jump in Hastings cases

Coronavirus infections took a turn for the worse in Hastings last week, with several new cases reported, while the number of new cases in the rest of the county remains subdued. In England as a whole the infection rate appears to have stabilised at a low level. Text by Nick Terdre, research and graphics by Russell Hall.

Seven new cases were reported in Hastings on Thursday 27 August, two more on 28th but none on 29th. Of those reported on 27th, one was actually tested on 29 July, so the person involved has probably already recovered or, if affected more seriously, been admitted to hospital.

The other cases were tested more recently – three on 21 August, one on 24th, three on 25th and one on 26th.

The eight new cases are located in Hollington and Old Hastings, each with four, as can be seen on this interactive map by Public Health England of new cases identified in the week to 26 August by Middle Super Output area (areas with around 7,200 population).

While Hastings has hitherto been among the local authorities with the lowest infection rates, the jump in cases changed its status, at least for a short period. On 26 August its seven-day infection rate per 100,000 population stood at 12.95, above the 11.75 rate for England as a whole, but Hastings has the eighth lowest cumulative rate in England and the 13th lowest in the UK, at 167.3, since the epidemic began.

The spike in Hastings may signal the beginning of a trend – the coming days will show. However, since its peak on 26 August, the seven-day rate fell to 5.4 on 29 August, so it may prove to be a blip.

Chart showing recent jump in Hastings cases (compiled from PHE data by Russell Hall).

Meanwhile the number of new cases reported elsewhere in the county on 27-29 August was relatively low: Eastbourne five, Wealden four, and Rother and Lewes one each. The rate for East Sussex as a whole was 5.74 on 27 August.

While the identification of new cases fluctuates somewhat, hospital data for East Sussex remain low. According to the PHE Healthcare Dashboard for the South East, as of 4pm on 30 August, the daily number of admissions was seven and the number of hospital patients being treated for the coronavirus 32, while seven patients were on ventilators. A breakdown of these figures by local authority is not publicly available.

Mobile testing unit back in Hastings

Meanwhile a second session for a mobile testing unit (MTU) took place in Hastings last week. As appeared likely given the controversy caused by the first in late July, an alternative site was chosen – the car park at the East Sussex College Ore campus.

On its first appearance the MTU was operated by the army, but this function has now been privatised – in line with apparent government policy – and handed over to Sodexo, a French company best known for provision of catering services.

The mobile test centre which operated for three days last week at East Sussex College Ore campus (photo: Russell Hall).

Are new cases nationally on the increase?

On 27 August the BBC reported 1,522 new cases in the UK based on reporting date, which it said was the highest number since early June. However, the surveillance survey by the Office for National Statistics, using more accurate data based on specimen date, has not detected an identifiable increase, as this chart shows.

The ONS reported on 28 August that for England, “There is some evidence of a small increase in the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in July, following a low point in June, but this continues to level off.”

Its most recent survey of the extent of the infection, for the week to 20 August, indicated that an estimated 28,200 people in England had the virus, equating to about one in every 1,900 individuals. For Wales the rate was significantly lower – an estimated 1,100 cases of infection, equivalent to about one in every 2,800.

Nor was there enough evidence to say there had been a fall in incidence for England in the most recent week, the ONS said, and it therefore considered the incidence rate to be unchanged. This is a survey of infection in the community, not including hospitals and other institutions.

Posted 10:58 Monday, Aug 31, 2020 In: Covid-19

1 Comment

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  1. henry

    Thanks again
    if i had not seen this i would hsve thought that it was no longer in Hasting
    so will now be more alert

    Comment by henry — Wednesday, Sep 2, 2020 @ 08:35

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