Covid-19 cases and deaths in Huntingdonshire “significantly higher” than elsewhere in county

Cumulative figures show Covid-19 cases and deaths in Huntingdonshire are significantly higher than e

Cumulative figures show Covid-19 cases and deaths in Huntingdonshire are significantly higher than elsewhere in county. - Credit: Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels

Recorded cases of Covid-19 and deaths from the virus in Huntingdonshire have been “significantly higher” than elsewhere in the county, according to latest figures.

Public Health England data for positive tests, as of July 6, from Pillar One and Pillar Two testing (figures from eight recording periods in May and June) shows there were 872 cases in Huntingdonshire, compared to 318 in Cambridge; 469 in Fenland 191 in East Cambs and 343 in South Cambs.

The number of deaths recorded by the Office for National Statistics, from March 27 till June 26, (includes homes, hospitals, care homes and hospices) was as follows; Huntingdonshire 172; Cambridge - 82, East Cambs 50; Fenland - 72 and South Cambs - 60.

MORE: Council leader calls for greater access to localised Covid-19 data

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire, has said in the last few days that a higher infection rate in Huntingdonshire and Fenland compared with the rest of the county council area is a change from the beginning of the pandemic where Cambridge and East Cambridgeshire had more cases.

She said: “Absolutely like the other districts, Huntingdonshire has peaked and has now come down, so it is very much down on where it was.”

Dr Robin could not say more specifically where in Huntingdonshire the cases have been, but said there had been a “strong link” with health and social care settings, adding there has been “a big decrease” in those settings in Huntingdonshire.

Concerns have also been raised about the “timeliness of data” which reveals the impact of the virus across the county.

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At a meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council’s General Purposes Committee on July 14 councillors heard from Cllr Lucy Nethsingha who said: “It’s really quite concerning that information is only coming to us now, and I think there are huge concerns about the way the Track and Trace system is working and the speed at which lockdown is easing in relation to how quickly that information is coming down to councils.

“It’s absolutely critical that information gets out to the public as quickly as we can because members of the public have been told that they should be going out and getting the economy restarted and going to pubs, and members of the public in the shielded category have been told they can stop shielding.

“They really desperately need accurate up-to-date information about the level of risk in their area.

“I do remain very concerned about the speed at which information is coming down from central Government to local areas so that individuals can make sensible decisions about their own behaviour.”

The leader of the council, Cllr Steve Count said he too wants more data about the situation in Cambridgeshire.

He said: “I would appreciate just like you the information from Government coming out and us being able to see in much greater detail”.

He said Cambridgeshire has been “relatively successful in some of our efforts to get data”, saying the county is expecting to participate in a pilot project which will see it receiving more information.

“There are other areas that we are lobbying Government for, not just for Cambridgeshire, but we believe this should be more accessible nationally,” he said.

Cllr Count said he wants the county to have access to Track and Trace, workplace and schools’ Covid-19 data.

Dr Robin told a county council health committee on July 9 that overall trends in cases are downwards and the county is in a “reasonably positive position”.

Although she added: “Clearly with the release of social distancing measures we are watching very carefully.”

The “most important thing” for preventing a second spike will be residents’ behaviour, she said.

MORE: People in Huntingdonshire fear it is ‘too late’ to enforce face coverings in shops

The methodology for reporting positive cases changed on July 2, so that now cases not previously attributed to a specific location have been added in.

The overall trend of Covid-19 cases is dropping in Cambridgeshire despite a perceived increase caused by a change in reporting methods, according to Dr Robin.

She also said Huntingdonshire’s figures are above the national average, but she said the infection rate is still falling.