Rewind our coverage of week 6 of the coronavirus lockdown in Lincoln and Lincolnshire.
1,383 coronavirus cases in Greater Lincolnshire
870 in Lincolnshire (up from 855)
378 in North Lincolnshire (up from 366)
135 in North East Lincolnshire (up from 134)
181 COVID-19 deaths in Greater Lincolnshire
109 in Lincolnshire (ULHT) (up from 107)
72 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (up from 71)
186,399 UK cases, 28,446 deaths
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27th April 2020 9:32am
The ‘moment of maximum risk’
On his first morning back at Number 10, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation.
On a positive note, he thanked those making sacrifices, assuring people that the country is ‘on the brink of achieving the end of the first phase of conflict’ and has so far prevented the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.
He warned however that complacency at this stage would risk another wave of cases and an economic disaster. “This is the moment of maximum risk.”
“People are wondering if now is the time to go easy,” he added. “We have nearly succeeded,” said the Prime Minister, but “I refuse to risk a second major outbreak.”
27th April 2020 11:08am
No end in sight for lockdown, officials hint
No end appears to be in sight for the lifting of lockdown restrictions, officials have hinted.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this morning that he “refused to throw away” the efforts of the British people to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Work resumes on Lincoln Cathedral after coronavirus delays
Work has now resumed on the £12.4 million new visitor centre at Lincoln Cathedral after the coronavirus crisis caused delays to the project.
William Birch & Sons temporarily suspended work on all its sites, including Lincoln Cathedral, on March 26 while it assessed the most practical working methods and site safety in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. It will be working to the Site Operating Procedures published by the Construction Leadership Council, including around social distancing.
Work resumed on site for the Old Deanery visitor centre on Monday, April 27, as well as for the improvement works to the area at the west front of the cathedral.
An opening date for the new visitor centre will be announced later in the year.
Minion and panda lift lockdown spirits in Lincoln village
Two young girls are putting smiles on people’s faces during lockdown, along with their father, by dressing up as a minion and a panda to raise money for the NHS.
Father-of-five Andy Fox, 37, has lived near Sturton by Stow for 15 years. He has been outside the front of his house every day since April 20 with two of his daughters Kali-Marie, 11, and Kelsie-Jay, 9, alternating the minion costume between them every hour.
They live near the main Ingham Road, between Stow and Ingham, and have been waving at passing cars and cyclists and raising money for the NHS in Lincolnshire with a collection bucket and an online donation page.
Lincoln Pride cancelled over coronavirus safety concerns
There will be no rainbow parades and performances in the city this autumn after organisers made the difficult decision to cancel Lincoln Pride 2020 over coronavirus safety concerns.
In a statement, the organisers said they have been closely following government actions and statements, as well as consulting with their supporters and sponsors, and decided to cancel this year’s event.
A further three people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in Lincolnshire’s hospitals taking the wider-county death toll up to 158.
NHS England confirmed that the fatalities were recorded at hospitals run by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.
No further deaths were announced at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.
Read more here
28th April 2020 3:13pm
Lincolnshire may be shielded from second coronavirus surge, says hospitals boss
The head of Lincolnshire’s hospitals has said he is “cautiously optimistic” the county could avoid a second surge of coronavirus cases as bosses begin preparations to restart some services.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust Chief Executive Andrew Morgan told BBC Radio Lincolnshire that the figures and activity at the moment were not “suggesting that peak is heading our way”.
It comes as health secretary Matt Hancock yesterday announced that the NHS would look to restart some vital services including cancer care from today.
Mr Morgan said national guidance had not yet been received on which services would be re-opened in Lincolnshire, but expected it to be mostly “time-critical” ones including elective surgery – particularly around those who had been waiting for a long time.
He said the trust had already managed to keep some cancer surgeries going during the pandemic.
RSPCA deals with over 380 incidents in Lincolnshire during lockdown
RSPCA rescuers have dealt with more than 380 incidents in Lincolnshire since the start of lockdown, including saving three rabbits that were abandoned by the side of the road in Bardney.
Since the government announced lockdown last month, RSPCA rescuers have dealt with 21,137 incidents of animal cruelty and suffering animals which need help. Of these, 382 were in Lincolnshire, including the three rabbits who were found in a box with no food or water.
They were collected on Wragby Road by Animal Collection Officer Sharon Knight on Monday, April 13.
Tests expanded to non-home workers and the over 65s, Health Secretary announces
Testing will be expanded to over 65s and non-home workers, the Health Secretary has announced.
Matt Hancock said both workers who have to leave their homes to go to work and have symptoms and those over the age of 65 who are symptomatic will now be able to be tested.
Residents and staff in care home who do not have symptoms will also be able to access tests.
Mr Hancock said he wanted to ensure that those who need a test will get one.
He added that the UK was “on track” to meet the 100,000 tests per day target which was set earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Mr Hancock said that from tomorrow (April 29) the government will publish daily figures of deaths in care homes.
Data from the Office for National Statistics today showed that the Care Quality Commission was notified of 4,343 deaths from COVID-19 in care homes.
28th April 2020 5:30pm
Today’s (Tuesday, April 28) update from Lincolnshire County Council
Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill and Chief Executive Debbie Barnes give an update on the coronavirus work the authority is doing. Today (Tuesday, April 28) topics cover the minute’s silence for frontline health workers, the return of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, PPE stocks, the return of hospital services, libraries and technology.
29th April 2020 10:46am
Blue light ‘clap for carers’ in memory of Boston nurse COVID-19 victim
Staff at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston have arranged a special Blue Light ‘clap for carers’ in memory of a nurse, who became the youngest COVID-19 victim in Lincolnshire at the age of 44.
Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran, who was known as Kumar to his colleagues, was a staff nurse at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston. He worked for the NHS for the past nine years before sadly losing his battle with the virus on Monday, April 27.
His colleagues have arranged the special Blue Light clap for the evening of Thursday, April 30. They are expecting some of their fellow blue light colleagues, including ambulance, police and fire personnel, to come to the site to take part, but it is not a public event.
Imps place first team and academy players on furlough
Lincoln City FC has confirmed that its first team and academy players have been placed on furlough leave due to the coronavirus crisis.
The League One club had already placed the majority of its non-playing staff on furlough leave under the terms of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
The players have now also been placed on furlough leave, although a small number of team members, including manager Michael Appleton, continue to work from home as the “club’s priority remains the health and wellbeing of its players, staff, supporters and local community.”
The club said the latest decision has been made in order to “protect the long-term financial viability of the club in what are unprecedented times.”
Taxis could transport patients to Lincolnshire Showground testing site
Lincolnshire County Council has begun looking for taxi companies which may be able to transport suspected COVID-19 patients for testing.
The new drive-thru testing site at the Lincolnshire Showground has come under criticism from some local people for access difficulties.
Anita Ruffle, Head of Transport Services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We have begun looking into the possibility of providing transport to the temporary test site at Lincolnshire Showground for those who would otherwise be unable to get there.
“Alongside home testing and mobile testing, this is just another option we are assessing to make sure key workers who needs tests can access them.”
Lincolnshire shows its appreciation ahead of Captain Tom’s 100th birthday
A special flypast, life-size chainsaw carving and a commemorative sculpture are just some of the ways Lincolnshire is honouring the 100th birthday of Captain Tom Moore, who went viral raising millions of pounds for the NHS.
The war veteran, who turns 100 on Thursday, April 30, raised £29 million for the NHS during the coronavirus lockdown by walking laps of his Bedfordshire garden.
His story inspired the nation and people in Lincolnshire have also been doing their bit to celebrate Tom’s achievements and to mark his upcoming milestone.
Testing in Lincolnshire is unlikely to meet target by Friday
Coronavirus testing numbers are continuing to rise at sites in Lincolnshire, but are unlikely to hit the 1,000 a day target by Friday, county health bosses have said.
Government ministers have this morning acknowledged that a 100,000 test a day target may not be met by the end of the month – having only carried out 52,000 tests on Tuesday.
Assistant director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council Tony McGinty confirmed that nearly 500 tests were completed in the county yesterday (Wednesday), and around 600 were booked in today (Thursday).
“Numbers are going up each day now, which is what we want to see,” he said.
However, he added: “If I were a betting man, which I’m not generally, I still think it’s going to be a hard push to get to our share of the 100,000.”
Mr McCartney praised the council for playing a “critical role” in the fight and being “instrumental” in issuing grants to businesses and supporting the most vulnerable.
The MP took credit, along with other MPs, for lobbying government ministers for more money which he said he was sure had “led to the latest funding package of circa £1,000,000 being issued.”
30th April 2020 3:21pm
Five more deaths reported in Greater Lincolnshire hospitals
There have been five more coronavirus patient deaths recorded across Greater Lincolnshire hospitals.
NHS England has confirmed that one more person has died at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, while in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust there were another four deaths.
The latest data for April 30, means Lincolnshire’s death toll stands at 102, while North Lincolnshire’s rises to 67.
A spokesman for ULHT said: “Sadly we can confirm that one further patient who was being cared for in one of our hospitals, and had tested positive for COVID-19, has died. This brings the total number of deaths in ULHT hospitals to 102.
“The patient was a man aged 70, who had underlying health conditions.
“His family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”
The number of deaths reported in England’s hospitals has risen by 391 to 20,137.
30th April 2020 4:02pm
How Lincolnshire key workers can get tested for COVID-19
Coronavirus tests are now available for all key workers in Lincolnshire, including those self-isolating and not able to leave home, but how does the process work?
The facility at the Lincolnshire Showground, which is run by Boots and Serco, replaced three sites in Lincoln and Boston. It was opened on Sunday and carried out 155 tests in its first day. However, sites in Lincolnshire are unlikely to hit the 1,000 tests a day target by Friday, May 1, county health bosses have said.
In addition to the static testing site, Lincolnshire also has mobile units that visit various locations based on booked demand. How do you book a test?
Fears over missed vaccine targets as coronavirus cure sought
Health bosses fear not enough people in Lincolnshire will take up coronavirus vaccines and create “herd immunity” once they become a reality.
Lincolnshire County Council’s assistant director for public health Tony McGinty said it was “more important now than ever” to push the need for 95% of people to undertake vaccinations in order for them to have the most effectiveness.
“People are obviously worried about Covid-19 and looking forward to there being a vaccine available but it will be so very important that people do take it up and make the efforts of scientists working on it all over the world count,” said Mr McGinty.
The COVID-19 testing site was ‘like a safari park with no animals’
A 26-year-old woman, who works in Lincoln, has described her experience at Lincolnshire Showground’s coronavirus testing centre.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, went for her test at around 5pm on Wednesday, April 29. After going through various different check points she was finally given a test kit and needed to do a swab in the throat, and then nose with the same swab.
The whole process took around an hour to complete and she is expecting to get her results back within three days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tells UK “we are past the peak” of the coronavirus disease
UK Prime Minister has told the country that for the first time we are “past the peak” of the coronavirus disease.
Mr Johnson led the daily briefing or the first time since he was taken ill with coronavirus.
“For the first time we are past the peak of this disease, we are past the peak and we are on the downward slope,” he said.
However, having earlier today urging businesses to keep going, he did not give any details of when lockdown would be lifted.
He said the government must meet five tests before it could begin to adjust social distancing measures.
They are that government:
Must be sure it can continue to protect NHS
Must see a sustained fall in deaths
Must be sure the infection rate is falling
Must overcome operational and logistical challenges on testing an PPE
Must all make sure the measures do not risk a second spike
“We’ve come under what could have been a huge alpine peak,” said Mr Johnson.
“It is vital we do not lose control and run slap into a second mountain.”
Mr Johnson thanked the NHS, his colleagues and the public for their efforts to tackle the coronavirus.
Mr Johnson said he would be putting a comprehensive plan together next week on getting the economy moving, getting children back into childcare and travel to work.
A review of the lockdown was set to take place next week.
The Government’s own deadline to get 100,000 tests a day passed today, however, was not met.
Mr Johnson said there had been 901,905 tests carried out, including 81,611 done yesterday.
171,253 had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 6,032.
However, he said the total number of deaths in the UK had now reached 26,711 – an increase of 674 on yesterday, including deaths in care homes and in the wider community.
1st May 2020 11:08am
Lack of confidence in PPE supply as county looks to meet government lockdown targets
A Lincolnshire health boss says he is not confident about the continued supply of Personal Protective Equipment as the county looks to meet the government’s five key targets for lockdown freedom.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his first briefing since his own infection with coronavirus, yesterday told the nation the UK was “past the peak” and set out five key tests before the government could adjust social distancing measures.
They are that leaders:
Must be sure they can continue to protect NHS
Must see a sustained fall in deaths
Must be sure the infection rate is falling
Must overcome operational and logistical challenges on testing and PPE
Must make sure the measures do not risk a second spike
Director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council Derek Ward had mixed responses to the targets and said he lacked confidence over PPE supply.
“PPE continues to be a challenge. I wouldn’t be confident that I could say we absolutely have assurances over supply of PPE – we’ve got some, we’ve got a reserved stock, but I’m not confident in that supply.
Police surprise minion and panda near Lincoln to join their clap for carers
Police turned up to surprise two young girls, who have been delighting locals as a minion and a panda near Lincoln, to join in their weekly clap for carers on Thursday evening.
Father-of-five Andy Fox has been outside the front of his house in Stow every day since April 20 with two of his daughters, Kali-Marie, 11, and Kelsie-Jay, 9, alternating the minion costume between them every hour and raising money for the NHS in Lincolnshire.
The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Police collaborated to give the family a happy surprise on Thursday, April 30. Special Sergeant Kevin Taylor, Chief Pilot at the Lincolnshire Police Drone Unit, and PCSO Pamela King, from Gainsborough Police, observed social distancing rules as they joined the family in their clap.
First coronavirus death in Lincolnshire community hospital as fatalities rise again
Another seven patients who tested positive for Covid-19 in Lincolnshire’s hospitals have died – including the first community hospital death.
The latest government data has reported 106 deaths in total at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (up four), one at Lincolnshire Community Health Services and 69 at Northern Lincolnshire And Goole Hospitals Trust.
A spokesman for LCHS said: “Sadly we can confirm that one patient who was being cared for in one of our community hospitals and had tested positive for COVID-19, has died.
“The patient was who was female, was in her 70s and had an underlying health condition.
“Her family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”
ULHT have also released a statement which revealed the latest deaths were all men, aged 78, 88 and another two aged 89 – all also had underlying health conditions.
The statement said: “Their families have been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”
Nationally there has been a further 352 people who have died across England’s hospitals, bringing the total number of reported deaths in hospitals to 20,483.
1st May 2020 5:18pm
Government achieves 100,000 test a day target
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed the government has met its coronavirus testing target.
Mr Hancock told the national daily briefing that yesterday (April 30), 122,347 tests had been completed.
He called it a “national achievement by a huge team of people” and thanked everyone for their help, including those following the lockdown guidelines and companies such as Yodel who he said “got us out of a real hole” by delivering tests.
“The capacity we have built will help every single person in this country. Testing is crucial to prevent the virus,” he said.
There have been another 739 deaths reported nationally, bringing the total – including hospitals, care homes and the wider community – to 27,510.
A total of 177,454 people have tested positive, an increase of 6,201.
Mr Hancock said: “I know it was an audacious and ambitious goal, but we needed that because testing is so important.”
He also confirmed that fertility services will be able to begin again from next week now that the UK was past the peak..
“We are restoring the NHS and restoring the chance for couples to start a family,” said Mr Hancock.
“When I say thank you to all those staying at home, thank you on behalf of the lives you are saving but also on behalf of the lives the NHS can now create.”
1st May 2020 5:24pm
Lockdown rebel ticketed four times as Lincolnshire fines rise
One person has been fined four times for breaching lockdown rules as the number of penalties given out by police continues to rise.
The rebellious resident was not identified by police, however, Deputy Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police Jason Harwin said further measures were being considered about how to tackle them.
He said they were “completely ignoring the issue”, adding: “We’re looking at all our powers to see if there’s any options available to us.”
These include work with councils and other partners on anti-social behaviour legislation such as closure orders.
Another two people had been issued three fines, while a fourth had been slapped with two penalties.
High Street names prepare for alternative lockdown freedom
Popular High Street names McDonald’s and Greggs are among those making preparations to re-open in the coming weeks, but not in the conventional sense, as the country prepares to get some normality back during lockdown.
Although no date has yet been set for the end of lockdown, which could still be extended, some big name brands are starting to come up with plans for re-opening soon, including McDonald’s which plans to re-open 15 UK restaurants later this month.
Household waste and recycling centres will reopen in Lincolnshire, but by appointment only and with a number of social distancing restrictions.
Lincolnshire County Council has not yet released slots for its online ‘click and tip’ service. It expects to do so soon, for up to two weeks in advance.
Once the system is live, people wishing to use tips in the county will be required to book a time slot online here.
2nd May 2020 3:01pm
Four more local Covid-19 deaths
2 in Lincolnshire (ULHT)
2 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG)
A spokesperson for ULHT said:
“Sadly we can confirm that two further patients who were being cared for in our hospitals, and had tested positive for COVID-19, have died. This brings the total number of deaths in ULHT hospitals to 108.
“The patients were a woman aged 85 and a man aged 57. Both had underlying health conditions.
“Their families have been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”