Lancashire's first wave is 'almost over' - but health boss says we need to be 'extra careful and extra cautious'

Lancashire’s first wave of coronavirus is almost over, the county’s public health boss has said.

By Michael Holmes
Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 9:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 5:22 pm

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi was assessing the situation right across the area, but the improving picture is particularly evident at the trust which runs the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.

Covid-related deaths have been recorded on just one out of the past seven days at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with the total number of fatalities in the week to June 29 standing at two people.

By comparison, in the week up until May 29, there were coronavirus deaths on six out of seven days at Central Lancashire’s hospitals – 14 of them in total.

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Dr Karunanithi said the improving picture is particularly evident at the trust which runs Royal Preston Hospital (above) and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital (Picture: JPIMedia)

Similarly, confirmed cases of Covid-19 across Preston, Chorley and South Ribble have also slowed.

Nine have been identified over the past seven days, just one more than the single-day total of eight back on May 29.

“The number of cases and deaths have peaked and are coming down – we are almost back to where we were before [the outbreak] started,” Dr. Karunanithi said.

“It’s certainly looking like we are nearing the end of the first wave. However, the pandemic has not affected every part of the country at the same time.

“From a national perspective, we are probably still at the tail end of the first wave and that is one of the reasons we have still got a higher number of cases compared to other parts of the country.

“It’s not confirmed fully, but it could also be that [the virus] has exposed the general inequalities that exist between various parts of the country and Lancashire even in pre-Covid days.”

That higher case rate – in spite of the generally improving picture – is reflected in Lancashire’s orange hue on a heat map of the number of Covid cases per 100,000 of the resident population of all the local authority areas of England.

In Lancashire in the week to June 21, between 26 and 30 cases of Covid-19 were detected for every 100,000 people.

It is not possible to determine whether that represents an improvement on the position at the end of May, when the statistics – from Public Health England – did not further break down case rates above that 26 level, which Lancashire was then shown as exceeding.

However, those figures are now graded up to 45 per 100,000 of the population and so Lancashire’s current infection rate means that it is no longer sitting in the top bracket by that measure – it is now in the third tier of six.

“As the lockdown lifts, given that the background infections are still higher in our area, we need to be extra careful and extra cautious – supporting businesses and residents to maintain social distance and hygiene, but also, when [people] have symptoms, to test them soon so that we can trace contacts and put an end to the transmission of the virus in the community,” Dr. Karunanithi said.