The impact of Peterborough’s Enhanced status to tackle COVID two weeks on

On November 1 Peterborough was granted Enhanced Response Area (ERA) status to tackle the COVID situation in the city - as vaccination rates remained low and cases were rising.

By Stephen Briggs
Monday, 15th November 2021, 4:03 am
Peterborough was given ERA status on November 1
Peterborough was given ERA status on November 1

Peterborough and Cambridgeshire were given the status by the Government to try and tackle the issues in the city - and the status is scheduled to last for at least five weeks.

October saw case rates rise to record levels in Peterborough - peaking at 707.2 cases per 100,000 people on October 13 .

October 18 saw 259 recorded cases in the city - the highest number recorded in a single day in the entire pandemic. Eight of the top 10 days were recorded in October 2021.

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While cases were rising, the number of patients in hospitals in Peterborough and Huntingdon also rose. Although the numbers did not reach the pre-vaccination peak of early 2021, on November 2 there were 107 patients in either Hinchingbrooke or Peterborough City Hospitals - the highest number since the beginning of March. It was feared the number ouculd have doubled by Christmas if action was not taken.

A total of 16 people died within 28 days of a positive COVID test in Peterborough in October. Eleven had died in September, and 12 in August.

Despite the rising number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths, Peterborough’s vaccination rate remained - and continues to do so - far below the UK rate.

The impact of the ERA status is still being seen - in the first 10 days since being granted the status, 671 second doses were given in Peterborough, compared to 866 in the 10 days before the status was granted. Peterborough’s vaccine rate remains much lower than the UK rate - just 60.8 per cent of people aged 12 and over have had both doses in Peterborough, compared to 79.9 per cent across the UK as a whole.

But while the Peterborough case rate remains above the UK rate, it has fallen, standing at 379.5 on November 6 - the first time it has dropped below the 400 barrier since September 27.

While the number of patients in hospital remains high, it has now dropped to 88 (as of November 11.)

Since ERA status was granted, health professionals have been working hard to tackle the COVID situation in the city.

The council has been working with the national Surge and Rapid Response team, who already provided assistance with targeted community and business engagement activity in September.

The council will be repeating this exercise from the weekend of November 19 and for the following four weekends in areas where vaccine take-up is at its lowest, with this extra capacity working alongside the council’s own staff, teams and community leaders.

Increased vaccination capacity is also being arranged for every week up to Christmas with additional pop-up and walk-in clinics and the use of the mobile vaccination clinic.

Changes have also been made in schools, through the requirement of face coverings in communal areas and reduced face-to-face meetings and on site events. In the case of outbreaks in schools the council will be able enhance testing and contact tracing measures.

The council has also stepped up its communication strategy, using social media, posters and advertising in the local media.

There has also been a focus on ensuring elderly and vulnerable residents get their third ‘booster’ COVID vaccine, with 45,000 jabs already given out in Peterborough.

Concerns have been raised that housebound residents were unable to get their booster jab - however, a spokesperson for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG said: “The vaccination of our housebound patients is currently ongoing, with providers contacting patients directly to offer them their booster vaccination. Providers who are offering housebound booster vaccinations will continue to contact patients over the coming days and weeks to arrange vaccination appointments.”

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