Four Greater Lincolnshire districts have infection rates over twice the England average, which have been put down to outbreaks in schools, supermarkets and factories.
As of Sunday, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, South Holland and Boston all have infection rates of over 124 per 100,000 people – more than double the current England average of 57.1.
This puts all four authorities in the top 20 highest infection rates nationally, with only one Greater Lincolnshire district being below the national average – North Kesteven (55.6), and Lincoln not far behind at 65.5.
Over the past few weeks, North Lincolnshire has risen up the ranks and currently has the highest infection rate in Greater Lincolnshire.
In the authority’s Cabinet meeting on Monday morning, Stephen Pintus, the joint Director of Public Health for North and North East Lincolnshire gave an update on the current COVID situation in North Lincolnshire.
He said: “The number of tests we’re carrying out has increased dramatically with a return to school, and that accounts for an increase in cases.”
“The highest rate is in our school age children, and also high rates in our early years settings and that fortunately is coming down now.”
Stephen Pintus added that there have been “school outbreaks, but also some smaller workplace outbreaks”.
Councillor Richard Hannigan said: “The patterns that we’re seeing are not dissimilar to those that happened during the first outbreak.”
North East Lincolnshire
North East Lincolnshire continues to have one of the highest infection rates in the UK (11th) as well as in Greater Lincolnshire.
In its latest epidemiology report, the council said: “This increase has been associated with ongoing outbreaks in settings such as factories and supermarkets (staff) and an increase in infection rates in school age children following the introduction of testing for all secondary school pupils and staff.”
However, despite schools going back in England on March 8, the national infection rate average is still decreasing weekly.
The start of March saw two Grimsby factory workers dying after testing positive for coronavirus.
South Holland & Boston
South Holland and Boston districts have plateaued recently, only seeing slight increases and decreases in their infection rates.
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.
Earlier this month, Professor Derek Ward, Director of Public Health for Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We are working on a proposal with national government about trying to target in a positive way the workforce in South Holland, to increase their uptake of testing.”