The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Bristol continues to rise, as the much more contagious Omicron variant sweeps across the city.
A total of 872 positive cases were confirmed today in Bristol – with testing and recording processes still catching up from the Christmas and Boxing Day break.
But there was good news in the city, as the latest figures show the number of people in hospital with Covid was actually lower than earlier in December.
A total of 16 areas of Bristol are now in the ‘black’ zone of the very highest coronavirus infection rates, as official stats show Omicron is spreading fast across the city.
The latest figures on average ‘case rates’ in different parts of the city show infection rates and case numbers rising in every single area – apart from Brislington, which is the only place in the city to see case numbers fall.
In the week to December 23, the latest for the more accurate case rate figures, the number of people with Covid-19 per 100,000 of Bristol’s population was 1,410 – the highest ever recorded in Bristol. It comes as the daily figure for new infections was also the highest ever recorded – with 129,471 new cases of coronavirus across the UK in the past 24 hours.
The latest update means that more than 800,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week.
A total of 9,546 people were in hospital in England with Covid-19 as of 8am on December 28, according to new figures from NHS England. This is up 38% from a week earlier and is the highest number since March 3.
The latest figures for hospitalisations in Bristol are a week out of date because of the Christmas holidays. The two health trusts – the University Hospitals trust and the North Bristol trust – actually saw declining numbers of people in hospital with Covid in the seven days up to December 21.
At the UHBW trust – which runs the BRI and Weston General – a total of 41 people were in hospital with Covid-19 on December 21, a figure which is down from an early December high of 57.
Similarly, at Southmead Hospital, a total of 40 people were in hospital on December 21, down from a December high of 56 at the start of the month.
Experts have warned that a big factor in that discrepancy – apart from the time lag between an increase in cases exponentially in the middle of December and people ending up in hospital in late December – is that most people with Covid in Bristol right now are in their teens, 20s and 30s.
The issue being watched by scientists now is whether the huge increases in Omicron cases that have seen an estimated two million people infected with the virus either side of Christmas will translate to a similarly exponential increase in the numbers needing hospital treatment.
In the UK as a whole, there has been a 38 per cent increase in numbers needing hospital treatment in the past week.
Prof Adam Finn, an expert from the University of Bristol and a member of the JVCI committee that advises the Government on the vaccine rollout, said the key test will be if Omicron puts increasing numbers of older people in hospital, as the virus spreads from younger to older people.
“Of greatest concern and interest now are (older) adults who have neither had Covid nor vaccine,” Prof Finn tweeted earlier today.
“If they are less likely to get seriously ill when they get omicron than Delta we have a more benign virus, if not lower hospitalisation rates are down to immunity. Maybe some of both,” he said.
In Bristol, the areas of the city with the highest case rates are all in an ‘inner-ring’ around the city centre, which tend to be where younger people live. On Monday, Bristol Live reported that 12 areas had Covid-19 rates so high they were in the UK Government’s highest rating section – today that number had increased to 16.
The 16 areas with case rates of over 1,600 cases per 100,000 people are below. The area is listed, along with the number of people living there who tested positive for Covid in the seven days to the Thursday before Christmas, December 23, followed by the case rate average.
Horfield 164 – 2,196
Bishopston 271 – 2,134
Redland & St Andrew’s 223 – 2,116
Clifton Village 125 – 1,997
Southville 219 – 1,964
Temple Meads 198 – 1,940
St Paul’s 252 – 1,869
Clifton East 162 – 1,818
Bedminster 183 – 1,816
Cotham 159 – 1,786
Redfield 178 – 1,763
Ashton 120 – 1,760
Windmill Hill 130 – 1,742
Lower Easton 152 – 1,724
Totterdown 117 – 1,657
Kingsdown & Stokes Croft 172 – 1,601
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