December 1, 2020 10.19 am This story is over 39 months old

Lincolnshire needs to “work its hardest” to return to lower infection rates

Numbers are falling, but not quick enough

Lincolnshire health bosses are confident the county can return to some of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in England as it heads into 2021, but warned people need to “work our hardest now”.

Infection rates across the county have already shown signs of dropping. On Monday there were some 297 cases confirmed in the county, although three residents also died with the virus.

Andy Fox, Lincolnshire County Council’s consultant in public health, said the figures across the county were “tracking down broadly, which is really good” as we head into December.

“It’s an important time for us all. As we go into tier 3, we need to make this work for Lincolnshire and we need to work our hardest now, especially in the in the period before Christmas, to make sure we all follow those key tier 3 regulations,” he said.

“Although in Lincolnshire we might feel that we’re in a tougher place being in tier 3, in terms of preventing the virus, it’s a good place to be and it should mean that if we come down, we could end up going into 2021 as one of the lowest prevalence areas in the country.”

East Lindsey District Council, which had been third highest last week, dropped to the 13th spot in Monday’s seven-day averages.

Most other districts also saw a drop, however, Boston jumped to second place nationally after infections spiked to 515.9 — that’s nearly double the county average of 270.5, and more than three times the England average of 167.8.

| Data: GOV UK / Table: The Lincolnite

Mr Fox said: “Boston has been heading in the wrong direction. We’ve seen a slow increase over the last couple of days. It is concerning.”

However, his suspicion is the rise was related to “a couple of outbreaks” leading to high spikes, which were “yet to clear out of the seven-day figures”.

These are understood to include care homes where asymptomatic testing is carried out on a regular basis.

He said the council’s own figures, which were ahead of the government ones shared with the media, suggested the infection rate would come down, but that health bosses were being cautious.

Lincolnshire cases up to November 30 (recent five days incomplete).

Lincoln city also saw a slight increase in its infection rate from 331.3 on November 27 to 338.4 per 100,000 — placing it 11th in the national rankings as of Monday.

Health bosses jumped on the chance to be included in the government’s mass community testing pilot, which is available for all tier three areas.

They are hoping to be able to use the new legislation to target key areas such as food factories and care homes.

Further details are still to be confirmed as to what local authorities can do, but the government is understood to be letting councils lead the pilots based on local knowledge.