Newark COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t impacted Lincolnshire yet

Lincolnshire health bosses say they are not seeing any concerning patterns in the spread of coronavirus cases in the county, despite a recent outbreak in neighbouring Newark.

Derek Ward, Lincolnshire County Council’s director for public services, said he and his team were “keeping a close eye on” the situation and talking with Newark and Sherwood authorities.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Newark had seen an outbreak of eight new cases at a factory in the region and MP Robert Jenrick warned people not be complacent about social distancing guidance.

However, Mr Ward said figures in Lincolnshire were broadly in line with those from last week. “We’re certainly paying close attention to it because there’s clearly a number of cases. We’re in touch with Newark and Sherwood Council and  talking to them just to get the most up to date data and keeping it keeping a close eye on it,” he said.

He added that his team had not seen a discernible pattern of COVID-19 in the county from the postcode level data they were receiving, and that infection rates in Lincolnshire remained the lowest in the Midlands.

However, this data does not include whether residents commute to work – only where they live.

The Bakkavor Deserts site in Newark recently saw an outbreak of eight confirmed cases. Photo: Google Streetview

In the week leading to August 4, Mr Ward said 5,500 tests had been carried out resulting in 30 positive cases – this he said was a similar “positivity rate” to the previous week which saw 3,500 tests carried out and 17 positive cases.

“What we can see from that is we’re doing more testing which is good but unsurprisingly, we’re finding more positives because we do more testing, but the overall positivity rate stays the same so it’s about 0.5%.

“I’d rather do more tests and find more cases as long as our overall percentage doesn’t jump up.”

Yesterday, national media also reported that thousands of COVID-19 deaths may be wiped off the records following an official review into how they were counted.

Scientists fear that anyone who tests positive and later dies is included in the figures – even if they did not die of the virus specifically.

Measures are being taken to start recording only those who die within 28-days after being diagnosed.

Mr Ward said he did not know how far the number would drop, if it did, however he said he would expect it to be between the current known hospital deaths (148) and the government’s postcode figure (321).

In light of the current heatwave, he reiterated general safety measures for those out and about including avoiding the midday sun, wearing hats and protection, but reiterated that people should also still stick to social distancing guidelines.

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