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The ONS sees signs that the steady rise in coronavirus cases since August may be levelling out (source: ONS).

Rise in cases puts Hastings and East Sussex in Tier 2

A new Covid regime comes into force when the national lockdown ends this week, with Hastings and the rest of East Sussex classified in Tier 2. Despite lockdown limits on activities the past month has seen an increase in the incidence of coronavirus in the town and the county. Nick Terdre reports.

Hastings, East Sussex and much of the rest of England will move into Tier 2 status, signifying high risk, when the second national lockdown ends on 2 December. That is one step up from Tier 1 in which the town and the county were placed prior to the four-week lockdown.

The move reflects rising cases of infection, though the county is by no means a hotspot. Elsewhere in the South East the government judges the situation to be more serious in Kent, which has been placed in Tier 3. However, the Office for National Statistics sees reason for hope in the indication that the number of new cases nationally is levelling out (see graph above).

The new regime means no mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles, and outside gatherings limited to six. Restaurants can open, but not bars and pubs unless they provide substantial meals. Retail outlets, indoor leisure, accommodation, personal care facilities and entertainment venues can open with appropriate precautions and restricted numbers of spectators are allowed into sports venues.

Nearly all areas of England are now designated in Tiers 2 and 3 (very high alert). Only three areas – the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Scilly Isles – will be in Tier 1 (medium risk). The tiers will be reviewed every two weeks.

Alone in the South East, Kent is in Tier 3 (graphic: PHE).

Uncomfortable truth

“Putting East Sussex in the ‘high risk’ tier for coronavirus reflects the uncomfortable truth that cases here are still rising quite steeply rather than coming down, as they are in England as a whole,” Darrell Gale, director of Public Health for East Sussex, said on Thursday.

“For months we’ve had one of the lowest infection rates in the country. But we’ve never been insulated from the risks of Covid spreading rapidly in our community and we’re at a point where that may be starting to happen, with 136 cases per 100,000 of population over the last seven days.

“This is still below the national average, but it won’t stay that way unless we act now to reverse the upward direction the virus is taking in East Sussex. All of us have responsibility for what happens next.”

According to data from Public Health England, in the seven days to 22 November, East Sussex had 710 new cases and a rolling average of 127.4, below the national seven-day average of 200.4. Hastings had 93 new cases, and a rolling seven-day rate of 100.4, Rother 138 and 143.6, Eastbourne 131 and 126.3 and Wealdon 252 and 156.1. (No figures are given for Lewes.) In all four areas the rolling seven-day rate was higher than the previous day.

The total number of deaths in the UK within 28 days of a positive test  was 3,258 in the seven days to 26 November, making a rate of 4.3 per 100,000 of the resident population.

Few deaths in Hastings

In Hastings the number of deaths remains low. There have been none within 28 days of a positive test since May, and the cumulative total since the pandemic struck is eight. However, the number of deaths in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate as one of the causes differs a little – there were two such deaths in early November, giving a cumulative total of 13 up to 13 November.

In Rother there were 14 deaths within 28 days of a positive test in the seven days to 27 November, making a cumulative figure of 55. The cumulative figure for deaths in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate is 60 up to 13 November.

In terms of the R rate, which measures average transmission by an infected person, the South East stands at the top of the table, with an estimate of 1-1.2, while for England as a whole it has dropped to 0.9-1.

Darrell Gale therefore urges East Sussex residents to make every effort to help reduce the incidence of infection. “By following the rules set out for high risk areas, we can start to turn things around,” he said. “In particular, I’d urge everyone to avoid crowds, reduce your travel and social contact as much as possible and if you must meet others, do it outside if you can.

“As well as following the regulations we all have choices to make. Reflect on who you really need to see at this time (or at Christmas). Think about how you’ll avoid crowds, especially in shops and marketplaces.  If you really need to go Christmas shopping for instance, why not do it at less busy times?

“It will be many months before vaccinations can alter the overall path of the virus. But we can do that immediately by thinking about the rules we must follow and the effect of the actions each of us take. I’d love to see East Sussex moved out of the high-risk category, and I’m sure you would too.

“So let’s do something about it together.”

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Posted 18:48 Sunday, Nov 29, 2020 In: Covid-19

2 Comments

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. J B KNIGHT

    Not Surprised, Lot of anti-masks, a lot of deniers, a lot of Its Ok its just the old and disabled and vulnerable…..

    A lot of people becoming aggressive and threatening on both sides.

    There nearly was a punch up in Jempsons when one young man said he was not afraid of punching and hitting anyone of us – err… 60 yr old woman and 3 staff all over 60 with white hair. We were all masked up, just total paranoia.

    The daily dosage of denial and pro-liberty at all costs horrifies me.

    A lot of selfish people out there.

    Comment by J B KNIGHT — Thursday, Dec 3, 2020 @ 20:51

  2. Patrick Glass

    Thanks very much for this, Nick. Most enlightening and helpful. As you point out, despite most expectations, the R rate is high here (1-1.2). Still going in the wrong direction. So we can’t afford to be – in any way – complacent. And Darrell Gale’s wise advice should be followed.

    Comment by Patrick Glass — Monday, Nov 30, 2020 @ 13:04

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