March 9, 2021 10.22 am This story is over 37 months old

Another week of high COVID infections in South Lincolnshire

Low income workers fear job losses

Two South Lincolnshire districts continue to have among the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the county and England.

According to the government’s coronavirus dashboard, Boston is still fifth highest with a seven-day infection rate of 151.1 per 100,000, while South Holland sits 11th at 143.1.

Lincolnshire’s health bosses, however, say that numbers are falling and their most up-to-date figures show lower infection rates of 114 and 137.9.

“That has come down from more than 200 just a couple of weeks ago,” said Andy Fox, assistant director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council.

“But the issue is that they’re probably not dropping down as fast as other areas.”

He said the rest of the county was doing well, with the highest districts just under the national average, while the lowest were far lower.

The current theory is that, with much of the two districts’ population working in employment areas with low income or low hours such as agency work, farming and factories, some may fear taking time off work to self-isolate for financial reasons. For instance, more than a quarter of South Holland is employed in food manufacturing.

Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rates from Feb 26 to Mar 8. | Data: Gov UK / Table: James Mayer for The Lincolnite

A chart showing the 7-day infection rates for Boston, which currently sits fifth highest in England.

“We’ve had fantastic experience working with the big employers in these areas, but there may be all sorts of reasons why some people are not able or not financially able to take a test and to isolate because they’d be worried about losing a job or not getting their agency work back,” Andy Fox added.

Conversations are ongoing with employers and with the government to see if there is any extra support that can be given, however, no details on this have yet been confirmed.

Mr Fox added that people should keep in mind that “at times in the pandemic they have been the lowest in the county.

“Most areas have been both lowest and highest interestingly, so that just goes to show that COVID is very variable in the way it transmits and interacts with different areas of Lincolnshire,” he said.