December 8, 2020 11.31 am This story is over 41 months old

A tale of two districts — Why Boston and Lincoln have high infections

Care homes and shopping drive spikes

The two Lincolnshire districts with the highest COVID-19 infection rates in our region have very different reasons for their predicament.

Boston and Lincoln are the two highest districts, sitting at fifth and 12th out of all local authorities in the UK.

According to the government’s latest figures, Boston’s rate of infection per 100,000 up to December 7 is 451.7 (down from 528.7 on December 4) while Lincoln’s is 375.6 (up from 373.6)

Lincolnshire’s seven-day average is 234 per 100,000, compared to a national average of 148.7.

Lincolnshire County Council’s assistant director for public health Tony McGinty said the reasons though were “happening differently in different places”.

Boston’s figures include a number of outbreaks in care homes and other settings.

“If I look at Boston, the rate in the last seven days is much lower than when we were really worried about it six or seven days ago,” he said.

“It is improving, but it’s still running a lot higher than we would want it to.”

Infection rates from Nov 30 to Dec 7. | Data: GOV UK / Table: The Lincolnite

He said there was concerted work to get the numbers down.

However, he said Lincoln was generally “running along at a higher level” rather than being linked to outbreaks.

“What we’re seeing in Lincoln is it’s tending to bolt along at a relatively high rate, it then goes down a little bit and then goes back up a little bit.

“We think that’s got a lot to do with the kind of place Lincoln is — all the shops being open, the town centre being busy, lots of people going to work in those shops and in other places [people] want to use.”

A map of infection rates. | Map: Gov UK

The county is currently under the toughest (tier 3) COVID-19 restrictions and will be hoping to see more relaxed rules when the government reviews the tiers on December 16.

However, bosses remain skeptical that we won’t be spending Christmas with the axe of tier three over our heads.

In the latest data three districts — Lincoln, North Kesteven and South Kesteven — all increased their infection rates, though the majority decreased.

Greater Lincolnshire overall has been slowly decreasing, but has consistently remained above the England average for the past week.