Covid-19 Risk Assessment Week Ending 4th October 2021

The risk of meeting an infected person while you are out and about in the Bucks community is SLIGHTLY HIGHER than last week (to 4 October) – still VERY HIGH. The number of patients in local hospitals with Covid-19 is slightly LOWER, though STILL HIGH. The pandemic in Bucks is NOT getting any better and so we continue to urge everyone to stay extremely ‘Covid-Careful’, and to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Read on for more details. 

 

DON’T FOLLOW THE CROWD – STAY COVID-CAREFUL 

To repeat, the number of people in the Bucks community that you could catch Covid-19 from is still VERY HIGH. If you don’t want to catch Covid-19, it is still ESSENTIAL that you continue to be ‘Covid-Careful’.  

Covid-Careful doesn’t mean shielding or complete self-isolation – meeting friends and family is vital for mental health, and it is still safe to meet OUTDOORS if you take sensible precautions (read our article or watch our video to learn more). But higher-risk people should, we think, NOT meet people indoors and should AVOID crowds, events and all indoor places like shops, restaurants and pubs. High risk people should KEEP wearing face coverings and AVOID mixing freely with others, whatever the Government may say. 


 

HELP IS AVAILABLE! 

If you need help or support or you’re anxious about Covid-19, BuDS is here for you. Please e-mail buds-support@buds.org.uk, call 01494 211179 (voicemail) or message us and we’ll do all we can to help.


 

THE RISK IN BUCKS THIS WEEK 

You catch Covid-19 from other infected people, so knowing how many infected people are around in your community is the most important fact when looking at risk. BuDS uses 4 separate sets of official data to make sure we can give you the best and most balanced picture of the risk from Covid-19 in Bucks. We are not trying to make precise mathematical calculations but assess whether the number of infected people in the local community is going up or down…


 

FIRST SET OF DATA: REPORTED POSITIVE TESTS 

Public Health England count the number of people who test positive for Covid-19 using either a laboratory PCR test or a lateral-flow test kit later confirmed by a PCR test. BuDS adds together the daily positive test totals over the last two weeks, because people generally have Covid-19 and are infectious for about two weeks. This gives us a total number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are still infectious. This total still underestimates the true number of infected people in the community, because lots of people who have Covid-19 don’t get tested or don’t report a positive test. So, BuDS increases the number of people testing positive to try to take account of the people who are positive but don’t get tested or report a positive test.  

Last week, after making the calculations shown above, we said there were 5205 infected people in Bucks. After revision of the test data by PHE, it turns out that the total was actually 5450. That means last week the number of reported positive tests rose by 16%. 

On the data we have from PHE, this week we calculate there are 6056 infected people in Bucks,1 which (taking last week’s revised total into account) means that the number of infected people in Bucks measured by PHE tests has risen significantly by 11% this week.


 

SECOND SET OF DATA: AVERAGE R RATE DATA 

Public Health England use a range of surveys and test data every week to calculate the ‘R Rate’ for Covid-19.2 The R-rate measures how quickly the number of people infected with Covid-19 is growing or shrinking. Using the average R Rate for the South-East of England, including Bucks, we calculate that last week there were 4084 infected people in Bucks, and this week there are 4876, a rise of around 19%. The R Rate is still calculated to be below 1 in the South East by both PHE and the ONS. This should mean that positive test numbers are falling, but this obviously isn’t happening here in Bucks even if it is happening elsewhere.   


 

THIRD SET OF DATA: MAXIMUM R RATE DATA 

Thirdly, using the maximum R Rate for the South East of England, including Bucks, we calculate that there were 4552 infected people in Bucks last week, and now there are 5593, a large rise of around 23%.  


 

FOURTH SET OF DATA: ONS INFECTION SURVEY 

The Office for National Statistics test a random sample of 50,000 people across the UK every week, whether they are ill or not, to see how many have Covid-19. This Infection Survey is the most reliable way of estimating how many people have Covid-19, because it doesn’t rely on people choosing to get a test or report a positive result.3 Unfortunately, the survey results are slow to come out – the latest fully-comparable figures we have are for the week ending 20 September, 2 weeks ago. That data shows a fall (-13%) in the number of infected people across the South East as a whole, which is significantly larger than the smaller fall (-4%) we saw in reported positive tests in Bucks in that week. However, even taking this small fall into account, ONS still finds more infected people in Bucks than is shown by reported positive tests. There are signs in the data that the ONS estimate is now rising again, but we will have to wait until next week to confirm that this is the case.  


 

PUTTING ALL THE DATA TOGETHER 

Looking at all the data, it is clear that the risk from Covid-19 in Bucks is SLIGHTLY HIGHER than last week. Depending on the test data you use, the number of infected people has gone from between 4500-5400 to between 4800-6100. 1 in every 90 people in Bucks is infected with Covid-19, and the risk of meeting one of those infected people in the community is VERY HIGH.  


 

HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO MEET AN INFECTED PERSON? 

Using the PHE test data, which we think this week is the most likely to be accurate,4 we have calculated that there are 6056 people infected with Covid-19 in Bucks this week. At least some of these infected people in Bucks will be showing symptoms and self-isolating or been told to self-isolate by Track and Trace. Some may be in hospital. However, for the purposes of calculating risk, we will take the ‘worst case’ scenario and assume that every infected person is still out in the community potentially able to infect you. How likely are you to meet them?  

How many infected people in every 1000?5 – 11  

How many infected people in Aylesbury?6 – 668 

How many infected people in High Wycombe?7 – 1336 

How many infected people in Amersham?8 – 301 

How many infected people in Chesham?9 – 297 

How many infected people in Buckingham?10 – 167 

How many infected people in Burnham?11 – 126 

How many infected people (adults or children) in a large school12 – 17 

How many infected people in a busy town centre?13 – 111 

How many infected people at a large public event?14 – 223 

How many infected people in a busy shopping centre?15 – 11 

How many infected people in a busy supermarket?16 – 3 

Remember, people infected with Covid-19 move about. The figures above show a theoretical number based on population or crowd size to help you get an idea of the likely number. Also, you don’t necessarily have to meet 90 people to meet one with Covid-19. The first person you see in the street or supermarket might be the one person with Covid-19. 


 

HOW IS THE NHS COPING? 

The pressure from Covid-19 on Bucks hospitals has fallen slightly this week, though it remains HIGH. Last week, according to NHS data, 120 people were admitted to Bucks hospitals for the first time with symptoms of Covid-19 or were admitted to hospital for other reasons and found to have Covid-19 when tested in the hospital, down from 152 the week before. This number is lower than last week, however the overall upward trend is still evident.  Already, Covid-19 is leading to the cancellation of operations and delays to other urgent hospital treatment for the residents of Bucks.  

Last week, extraordinarily, the Government announced it was forcing NHS hospitals in England to cut their precautions against Covid-19, increasing the risk that patients, staff and visitors will catch Covid-19 in what is supposed to be a safe clinical environment. This change has not been rescinded, despite the obvious risks that this policy poses. 


 

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE DYING? 

5 people were recorded as dying in Bucks last week within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. Historically, this data underestimates the number of people dying of Covid-19, but the true total will not be known for months until finalised death certificate data is available.  


 

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED IN BUCKS? 

The vaccination programme in Bucks continues to move forward but the rate of vaccination is once again falling.  

There has been no progress in vaccinating the 4.1% (just over 3100) older people over 70 who have not received either dose of a vaccine, or the 5.3% (just under 4100) older people who have yet to receive their second dose.17  

For people aged between 16 and 70 in Bucks, over four-fifths (83.0%) have now had one vaccine dose and just over three-quarters (76.8%) have had their second dose.18 But the number of under-70 adults in Bucks getting either a first dose or second dose shrank last week, with only 400 more adults under 70 getting a first dose and 1,400 adults under 70 getting their second dose. While calculating rates can only ever be very approximate, at this rate it will be February 2025 before all adults under 70 in Bucks are fully vaccinated. A start has now been made on vaccinating 16-18 year olds, though this is still very slow. Now, there will be 12-15 year olds to vaccinate as well – though, according to the official data at least, no 12-15 year olds have yet been vaccinated in Bucks (as of 3 October). With just under 70,000 adults under 70 in Bucks (17.0%) unvaccinated and approximately 73,000 children19 completely unvaccinated, Covid-19 can still do plenty of damage to unvaccinated people in Bucks. 


 

THE KEY MESSAGE 

The key message for EVERYONE hasn’t changed: this is a time to you to ACT TO PROTECT YOURSELF from both Covid-19 and Long Covid by being Covid-Careful.  


 

WE ARE HERE TO HELP! 

If you need advice on how to keep yourself safe, or any other form of help or support, or you’re anxious about Covid-19, BuDS is here for you. Please e-mail buds-support@buds.org.uk, call 01494 211179 (voicemail) or message us and we’ll do all we can to help. 


 

MORE INFORMATION

To read the rest of our articles about Covid-19, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/category/our-work/iag-covid-19/

To learn more about the people who are more likely to die or have serious illness if they catch Covid-19, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/danger-of-covid-19/

To learn more about Long Covid, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/long-covid-july-2021-update/

To learn more how to be safer when going out, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/meeting-safely-out-of-doors/

To read our past risk posts, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/category/our-work/iag-covid-19/risk-assessments/

To see how we calculate the figures used in this post in more detail, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/risk-post-statistical-methods-explanation/  


 

UPDATES 

BuDS will put out another Covid-19 update next week using the latest figures.  


 

FINALLY

Please share this article on social media, but always credit BuDS. If you need help or support or you’re anxious about Covid-19, BuDS is here for you. Please e-mail buds-support@buds.org.uk, call 01494 211179 (voicemail) or message us and we’ll do all we can to help. 


 

REFERENCES

[1] Using data from https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/download. The raw test figures are added together and adjusted to account for asymptomatic cases based on scientific data, in order to create a rolling two week average which best represents the number of infected people in Bucks this week. This rolling average is the figure that we use in the post.

[2] Using data from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk#latest-r-number-and-growth-rate. The figure quoted is calculated in the same way as the rolling average figure described in reference 1, but using the R number to estimate the number of positive cases rather than PHE test data.

[3] For information on the infection survey, including the data collected (which is used by BuDS to calculate this estimate for Bucks), see https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/datasets/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveydata or https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/23april2021 for the weekly reports.

[4] The ONS Infection Survey historically consistently reports more infected people than any of the other measures we use, so we think the PHE test data is more likely to be correct this week as it is the highest of the up-to-date data sources available.

[5] Population of approx. 543973 based on 2018 survey data, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274

[6] Population of approx. 60,000 people, from https://www.aylesburytowncouncil.gov.uk/about-aylesbury/#:~:text=Aylesbury%2C%20the%20County%20Town%20of%20Buckinghamshire%2C%20is%20a,of%20over%2060%2C000%2C%20the%20largest%20in%20Aylesbury%20Vale.

[7] Population of approx. 120,000 people, from https://www.wycombe.gov.uk/pages/About-the-council/Transparency-and-open-government/Open-data/Statistics-and-census-information.aspx

[8] Population of 27,077 as of the 2011 Census, from http://old.buckscc.gov.uk/media/1000352/Local-Community-Area-Data.xls

[9] Population of 26,718 as of the 2011 Census, from http://old.buckscc.gov.uk/media/1000352/Local-Community-Area-Data.xls

[10] Population of approx. 15,000 people, from https://www.buckingham-tc.gov.uk/

[11] Population of approx. 11360 as of the 2011 census, from https://wikishire.co.uk/wiki/Burnham,_Buckinghamshire#cite_note-ons-1

[12] Assuming pupils plus staff equals 1500 people in total

[13] Assuming 10,000 people present at any one time

[14] Assuming 20,000 people present at any one time

[15] Assuming 1000 people present at any one time

[16] Assuming 300 people present at any one time

[17] All data from https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/ and https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/download

[18] Ibid.

[19] For this, we are assuming the population of Bucks to be 543,973 (as above in the cases section), then subtracting the number of people in Bucks aged 18+ according to the NHS vaccine register.