Stevenage COVID-19 cases rising as national rate falls

The NHS has released the latest coronavirus Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine advice. Picture: Frank Augstein/PA Wire

The NHS has released the latest coronavirus Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine advice. Picture: Frank Augstein/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Coronavirus cases began to spike again in Stevenage last week, before the UK had exited its second national lockdown.

In the first four days of December, cases were up, on average, by 31 per cent, compared to the previous week.

The rise came after two weeks of steady decline in case rates – and meant Stevenage’s rate was getting worse, despite the overall infection rate in England going down.

On November 5, as the nationwide lockdown began, Stevenage had 109 confirmed cases and an infection rate of 129.8 cases per 100,000 people.

The borough’s case rate grew in the eight days that followed, which would be expected because the virus can take a week to ten days to incubate and begin causing symptoms, resulting in more infected people getting tested.

Infections in Stevenage peaked on November 13, when the borough had 160 confirmed cases and an infection rate of 182.1 cases per 100,000 people.

The infection rate then steadily declined for a fortnight.

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By November 27, there were 78 confirmed cases and the infection rate had more than halved since the peak, dropping to 89 cases per 100,000 people.

But since November 28, cases in the borough were increasing again – even though lockdown restrictions were not due to ease until five days later.

By December 2, the final day of lockdown, cases had shot back up to 117 – giving an infection rate of 133 cases per 100,000 people.

On December 4 – the last day of verified data – it was 116 per 100,000 – but that was still 31pc higher than a week earlier.

Despite rising infections, Stevenage’s rate of infection remained slightly below that of Hertfordshire overall.

It was also lower than other boroughs. St Albans had a rate of 118 cases per 100,000; Three Rivers, had 125 per 100,000; Hertsmere had 154; and Watford had 181.

On December 4, the county had 1,642 confirmed cases - giving an infection rate of 138 cases per 100,000 people.

The case rate was up 240 – or 17pc – on the previous week.

The county’s highest infection rates are concentrated in the south-east, at its borders with Essex and London.

Broxbourne had Hertfordshire’s highest infection rate as of December 4, at 244 cases per 100,000 people.

The rate was high enough to place it into the second-worst category, according to a colour-coded map created by the government.

READ MORE: Stevenage MP calls for borough to be downgraded to Tier 1

READ MORE: Lister Hospital administers first Covid-19 vaccine

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