November 17, 2020 3.56 pm This story is over 36 months old

Schools and care homes are the COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in Lincolnshire

Over 200 outbreaks across the county

Health bosses in Lincolnshire are dealing with 208 COVID-19 outbreaks — more than they have experienced since the pandemic began — with care homes and schools being the main hotspots.

Lincolnshire County Council’s assistant director of public health Tony McGinty confirmed the level of infection in general communities was so high that it was “getting past the defences of some of the organisations that are trying to keep it out of their doors”.

“We have more incidents and outbreaks now than we have had so far in our experience with COVID,” he said.

Figures supplied by Lincolnshire County Council show 204 outbreaks around the county, including:

  • 61 care homes out of 283
  • 95 schools out of 393 schools/colleges
  • 52 community outbreaks covering everything else including hospitals, factories, businesses and small offices

However, he added a lot of them were smaller numbers consisting of one or two cases rather than “significant outbreaks”.

“The ones I’m most worried about the ones that are either bigger and ongoing, so that we don’t seem to have control over them, or ones where they’re having an immediate effect on the safety of services,” he said, pointing to the critical incident at United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust facilities over the weekend.

Teaching unions in the county have argued that schools should close, but health bosses said on Tuesday that enough was being done to keep them open.

County bosses have said, however, that the region “probably” could leave lockdown in a higher tier than it entered.

Other examples, he said included a number of food places such as factories.

“We’re tracking those really carefully as well, but what we’re finding is that very often the transmission isn’t happening inside the factories, it’s happening because the people who work in there live together, they share houses, they share transport.

“So it’s not about the factories, it’s about the way that people interact with each other, getting to and from work and outside of work.”

Lincolnshire’s case numbers up to November 16.

He added this did not just apply to factories however, with other examples including doctors, nurses and other single-working people who might have to work to early starts or late finishes.

“A lot of these places we’re seeing outbreaks at, and the reason to some extent why they are having to live with having cases is because they have to stay open. You know we have to have food supply, we have to have care workers, hospital workers, and so on.”

However, he said there were good examples of businesses trying to take extra precautions, including one factory which had subsidised more buses for its cohorts.

“It’s really, really important people understand this isn’t about the factories, most of the time it’s about the way people are living,” Mr McGinty concluded.