Peterborough City Council takes immediate action to deal with COVID-19 infection rise.

20 July 2020

A statement from Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

Peterborough has been identified as being within the 10 local authorities with the highest weekly rate of Covid-19, after an increase in cases in the last week has taken us back to the levels last seen in early June.

  • 15th – 21st June 56 cases
  • 22nd-28th June 46 cases
  • 29th June- 5th July 38 cases
  • 5th-12th July 61 cases

While these results only reflect a change in a trend observed in the past few days, we are not complacent and are taking action now.

We have analysed postcode and ethnicity data for recent Covid-19 cases and are clear that they reflect the wide diversity of Peterborough residents – but we are seeing more cases in working age people. Admissions to hospital for COVID-19 are continuing to fall, and are currently at the lowest level across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire since early March.

However we are seeing more cases in the more deprived areas in the centre and north of the City, and so we are increasing and focussing our preventive efforts on the most at-risk communities and areas in Peterborough.

We are ramping up our actions to :

  • Provide more targeted communications and engagement in key areas of the city, to ensure that people from all communities understand that Covid-19 is still circulating in our local area, and what they need to do to reduce the risk of either transmitting or catching it.
  • Deliver a range of preventive activities through our local multi-agency ‘rapid response’ team – which includes a range of Council officers, police and most recently health service colleagues and local volunteers who are taking information leaflets door to door in parts of the city
  • Offer increased easily accessible testing, with a regional mobile testing unit sited at Gladstone Park Community Centre since Wednesday - with more testing planned for the coming days including potentially offering tests to people without symptoms in high risk areas
  • Continue to respond quickly specific outbreaks e.g. in workplaces or cases in schools – through our Covid-19 Outbreak Management Team which meets daily and works closely with Public Health England and Environmental Health teams.
  • Continue to review data and trends daily through our Covid-19 surveillance cell to get full an understanding as possible of the local picture, which will allow us to understand any changes we need to act on

Clearly increasing our testing offer is beneficial, as early identification of cases is essential so that we can identify pockets of infection early, provide support and advice to help people isolate and break the chain on onward infection.

But we do expect that this will lead to an increase in identified Covid-19 cases over the coming fortnight, and potentially an increase in Peterborough’s national ranking for number of cases per 100,000 population.

Clearly the overall Covid-19 picture in Peterborough is of concern – and all of us involved are working hard to deliver preventive activity at this early stage, and reduce the risk that cases continue to rise and we need to move to a ‘local lockdown’ similar to Leicester. I would emphasise that our current Covid-19 case rates are just over 27 per 100,000, while Leicester’s are above 100 cases per 100,000 – so we are taking these measures now to ensure we do not reach the same position.

Our key messages for all local residents are

  • After seeing infection rates fall regularly for some weeks, a small rise of cases in Peterborough means we are taking action immediately to make sure lockdown relaxations don’t have to be reversed in Peterborough
  • Keep Caring for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. Please take note of public health guidelines and help others to do the same.
  • Increased and even more easily accessible testing is available and we are likely to see numbers of positive cases rise in the short term, but this is part of our plan to root out and prevent further spread.