Large drop in recorded Peterborough COVID cases linked to testing problems as number of children being tested in city doubles

Residents in Peterborough are being urged to stick to the COVID rules, despite an apparent large reduction in new cases in the city over the past week.

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 5:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 5:39 am

Official statistics have shown a drop in cases in the city - but the director of public health for Peterborough, Dr Liz Robin, has said this is unlikely to be the case, with the testing problems seen in Peterborough and across the country being blamed for the apparent drop in recorded new cases.

Dr Robin said: “Although it might appear from recent data that levels of coronavirus in our city are reducing, this is unlikely to reflect the true situation. We are concerned that the reduced numbers of diagnosed cases is a direct result of people not being able to access walk-in tests, which were stopped nationally due to pressure on the testing laboratories. This means that people who find it difficult to book a test over the internet or through the national 119 number will be less likely to get tested.

“In contrast, we have seen a doubling of children accessing testing in the last two weeks with under 18s now accounting for 20% of all tests although few are positive. Overall, the recent changes in the data are likely to reflect a change in who is being tested at the moment, rather than an actual reduction in cases in Peterborough.

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“We are looking further into this, but in the meantime I strongly urge people to follow the advice and in particular limit their contact with others. Remember that the more households you mix with on a regular basis by visiting each other’s homes, the greater your chance of catching the virus.

“Continue to wash your hand regularly and for 20 seconds, wear face coverings in shops, on public transport and in enclosed spaces and keep 2m apart from people you don’t live with (1m with face coverings where this is not possible).

“And remember - if you or anyone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus – a raised temperature, new continuous cough or a loss in sense of taste or smell – you and everyone in your household must self-isolate and you must book a test. If you experience a delay in getting a test, please self-isolate in the meantime for the full 10 days. We urge people to only carry out a test if they are showing one of the symptoms of the virus.

“The city and the country are at a crucial point – please follow this advice and help reduce the spread of the virus. You’ll be keeping your loved ones safe and helping to avoid a second damaging lockdown.”

However in the seven days ending on Friday (September 18) Central Park was the only area of the city to record three or more cases, with just four recorded.

The Government’s watchlist, which was updated on Friday showed a figure of 30.3 cases per 100,000 of population for Peterborough. Those figures covered the period between August 7 and September 13. Daily data published by Public Health England covering later dates shows lower figures for Peterborough.

The daily update on the rate of new cases (per 100,000 of population) and the number of new cases (in brackets) in the seven days to September 18 compared to figures recorded in the seven days to September 11:

Peterborough 11.4 (23 new cases) compared to 30.7 (62 new cases) the previous week.

The seven days to September 17 compared to the seven days to September 10:

Peterborough 9.9 (20 new cases), 31.1 (63 new cases )

The seven days to September 15; number compared to the seven days to September 8:

Peterborough 14.8 (30 new cases), 31.6 (64 new cases)

Peterborough’s overall case rate will be updated again on Friday’s watchlist.