Lincolnshire has been bucking the trend and increasing in COVID-19 cases over the past couple of weeks, with infection rates in some areas now double the national average.
South Holland is number five in the UK, with a 208.4 infection rate — more than double England’s 102.9 figure as a whole. It’s believed outbreaks among field and factory workers are pushing the numbers up, along with extra testing.
Four of the county’s seven districts saw an increase on the previous week’s infection rates, and Boston is now ranked 22 nationally.
However, the number of new cases in the county in February halved compared to January.
Andy Fox, Lincolnshire County Council’s assistant director of public health, said it was “important to be aware that we were far lower than other areas of the country just a few weeks ago”.
“So while other areas seem to have been in a steep decline, which has given them some momentum to go past where we are, a very shallow decline seems to have flattened out here.”
There were 5,412 coronavirus cases and 208 COVID-related deaths recorded in Greater Lincolnshire in February, half as many as January, which saw 10,667 cases and 426 deaths.
He added: “It isn’t a big increase compared to the numbers we were looking at a few weeks ago, but when everywhere else is still decreasing, it makes Lincolnshire suddenly look worse.”
He pointed to figures in early January which saw infection rates in some areas reach more than 500 per 100,000 population at the time.
The main increase, according to the latest data, is among the working age groups, in particularly Mr Fox said, among those working in commercial premises in food production, warehousing and manufacturing.
Mr Fox could not say if it was a change in people’s behaviour or more COVID circulating.
However, he did note there had been a “notable jump” in testing in the county in the first two days of the half term and urged people to continue to do so.
In response to concerns over visitors to the coast during warmer weather over the weekend, Mr Fox urged people to remember the country was still in lockdown and that the law had not changed yet.
“If people suddenly jump to the kind of restrictions we’re expecting in April or May, if they say that “oh it’s coming up so I’ll just fast forward a little bit”, then we are likely to see numbers going up faster than the government are planning. and we really don’t want to delay any of these changes to the roadmap.”