Did lockdown work in Harrogate? The Covid case rates at the start and end of November

The four-week national lockdown has come to an end – but has it helped drive down virus cases in Harrogate?

Friday, 4th December 2020, 1:32 pm
Updated Friday, 4th December 2020, 1:36 pm
Lockdown was introduced for the second time on November 5 and Harrogate has since seen a significant drop in infection rates.

Lockdown was introduced for the second time across England on November 5 in an attempt to curb a surge of infections which started at the end of summer.

When comparing the weekly infection rates from the start of the lockdown with the latest figures available from towards its end (November 30), we can see that all areas across North Yorkshire - particularly Harrogate - have seen rates fall.

Harrogate saw a big drop in cases, with the infection rate shrinking three-fold between these two time periods from 277 cases per 100,000 people to 85.

However, the latest figure is still ten times higher than it was in August (8) and health officials are concerned cases could rebound over the Christmas period.

The difference in weekly infection rates between November 5 and November 30 for all district council areas across North Yorkshire are as follows:

Richmondshire 153 to 91 (-62)

Ryedale 132 to 81 (-51)

Craven 200 to 147 (-53)

Selby 253 to 118 (-135)

Hambleton 259 to 79 (-180)

Scarborough 341 to 134 (-207)

Harrogate 277 to 85 (-192)

On Wednesday, Harrogate entered Tier 2 local coronavirus restrictions, the same as the vast majority of the country.

Tier allocations will be reviewed by the government every two weeks, meaning Harrogate will find out on December 16 whether its tier will change.

Tier 2 includes curbs on hospitality businesses and indoor household mixing, but there will be an exemption of this when three households will be allowed to mix indoors for five days over the Christmas period.

The five-day Christmas break will take place from December 23 and December 27 - and does not cover New Year.

Officials have advised people to follow social distancing measures where possible and think seriously before visiting elderly or clinically vulnerable relatives.

Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said it was crucial that infection rates are kept low ahead of Christmas to avoid another rebound of cases.

He said: "The lower we can get our rates before Christmas the better. We know that the mixing of households over the period of relaxation has the potential to see rates bounce back up in the New Year.

"Like you, we do not want to see a third wave here. Like you, we want to see our businesses well placed to plan for recovery in 2021 and so we all have a very important part to play in this.

"We must not drop our guard when we enjoy time with our loved ones and I ask you to take very particular care around older family members and people who may be more vulnerable due to medical conditions."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter