Peterborough: 1,379 cases (-231 from the previous week) Rate: 680.6Peterborough: 1,379 cases (-231 from the previous week) Rate: 680.6
Peterborough: 1,379 cases (-231 from the previous week) Rate: 680.6

COVID cases dropping in Peterborough - but testing at its lowest level

The number of recorded COVID cases in Peterborough is falling - but testing is at its lowest level since mass testing became available.

In the seven days up to March 31, there were 1,379 COVID cases recorded in the city - down by 231 compared to the previous week. The rate in the city fell to 680.6 cases per 100,000 people - below the UK rate of 747.8.

The number of cases fell in 15 of the 22 neighbourhoods in the city.

However, testing has fallen to its lowest level since it became available on a mass scale in 2021.

Fewer than 2,000 tests (including both LFT and PCR) were taken in each of the six days up to and including April 4. The last time there were six consecutive days with fewer than 2,000 tests each day was in the days leading up to January 26 2021 - when there had only been two days with more than 2,000 tests taken.

On January 5 2022, more than 10,000 tests were taken in a single day in Peterborough.

Free Lateral Flow Tests for most residents became unavailable on Friday, April 1.

There were a total of eight COVID related deaths (within 28 days of a positive test) in Peterborough recorded during March. There were 20 such deaths recorded in February.

However, as of March 29 there were 137 patients with COVID in hospitals run by the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford & Rutland) - the highest number of patients since February 24 2021.

While COVID rates remain high - and there are fewer tests being taken - director of public health Jyoti Atri urged people to remain cautious.

She said: “We do hope that as we move into spring better weather will encourage more people to meet outside and infection rates will fall. We also know that we are in a better place than last year and Covid is not causing the level of harms that we have seen previously. Most people in the city are now vaccinated and boosted and the most vulnerable are now eligible for spring booster. Anti-viral treatments are also helping reduce the numbers of people becoming seriously ill.

“But Covid is still out there, it is very transmissible and is still causing people to become unwell. This is having an impact on staffing capacity in some of our essential services, like health and social care. Employers should ask people who are feeling unwell to stay at home to stop the virus spreading throughout the workforce.

“Keeping up to date with your vaccinations, wearing a face covering in enclosed crowded places, keeping a window open and washing your hands can all help to stop the virus from spreading.

“If you are feeling unwell with a temperature and a cough, Covid is most likely to be the cause. Commercial tests will be available, and it will be a matter of personal choice if residents want to take them up. Whilst it is no longer a legal requirement to isolate, it is still government guidance to stay away from others if you are unwell with a high temperature or bad cough until you feel better.”

Her message was reiterated by Peterborough’s chief executive Matt Gladstone. “We are all looking forward to enjoying a more normal life, but we want our city to remain working, our businesses not to suffer due to staff illness, our health services not under pressure and our schools to have teachers and support staff who are well and supporting local children to catch up with the education that they deserve.

“That is why it is important to follow this advice - taking these simple steps shouldn’t stop anyone from moving into a more normal life and will help our whole city to thrive.”