Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty highlighted Lincolnshire as an area of concern for COVID-19 infections during the government’s press briefing on Thursday, suggesting some areas could face even tougher restrictions.
But Lincolnshire’s health bosses have refused to speculate on the government’s imminent decision over tiering next week.
The county is currently under tier 3, the highest, and chiefs previously warned people needed to stick to the lockdown rules as the government is due to take a snapshot of the most recent data in the next few days — before the official tiering announcement on Wednesday, December 16.
Lincolnshire County Council’s director of public health Derek Ward said it was expected the data would include the days up to the middle of the week.
However, he said: “I’m not going to speculate. I didn’t in the first instance, I’m not going to do it at any point. We will be where we are based on the Prime Minister’s ultimate decision.”
He said the data showed the country and Lincolnshire had been on a downward trend since mid-November.
However, he noted that where nationally the infection rate had flattened out and in some areas had started rising, Lincolnshire was continuing downwards.
The county, however, remains above the England average of 153 cases per 100,000 population at 239.4.
At a district level Lincoln and Boston remain a concern with the county’s capital now taking the top spot in local infection rates.
Health bosses’ own data shows Lincoln has an infection rate of 490, while Boston sits at 350.
Professor Ward said, however that many of Lincoln’s cases were in specific locations. For example 150 of the most recent 480 cases in the city were staff and patients in care homes.
He confirmed there was also an outbreak at Lincoln prison.
Professor Ward said the amount of variation in where infection rates were highest showed that cases were moving around the county.
He added, however: “Our overall is down, but nobody should be under any illusion that we are as a county significantly above the England rate. Clearly if Chris Whitty has mentioned us in a press briefing, we’re on the agenda.
“They are fully briefed and up to speed with what’s going on, but I think we’ll have to wait to see next week where we are.”