How close is Harrogate to another coronavirus lockdown?

As hundreds hit Harrogate's dining and drinking hotspots for the first time in months at the weekend, it was a very different picture in locked-down Leicester.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 12:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 12:50 pm

The city's bars, shops and restaurants remained deserted and will now have to wait weeks longer to reopen after the government took tough action to head off a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

The reintroduction of stay-at-home restrictions came as - for the first time - we were able to look at the trends in confirmed infections in every local authority in the UK, including Harrogate.

And public health officials in the district are now monitoring the risk of localised outbreaks - although the government suggests that lockdowns on the scale of Leicester's are "not imminent in other areas".

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Harrogate district stands at 700.

How close is Harrogate to another lockdown?

The new testing data revealed last week showed Harrogate has had more than twice as many positive coronavirus cases as previously reported.

But health officials were quick to explain that although the data shows there has been a big rise in infection rates, it is linked "solely" to a change in reporting.

Public Health England previously only published test results from swab tests in labs, tests in NHS hospitals and health and care worker test results - known as Pillar 1 data.

Tests performed at Harrogate Hydro leisure centre - and other swab tests on the general population - also known as Pillar 2 test results, were not included in the published data.

The government released Pillar 2 figures for the first time on July 2 - which then saw the number of confirmed cases in the Harrogate jump from 325 to 694 - an increase of 113 per cent.

And now latest figures show the number of confirmed cases in the district stands at 700.

To put that into context, Leicester now has 4,036 confirmed cases - five times as many as Harrogate.

When the figures are adjusted for the size of the population, Harrogate has an infection rate of 436 per 100,000 people.

That is less than half of the infection rate in Leicester, which is 1,136 per 100,000 people.

Speaking earlier this week, North Yorkshire’s director of public health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, said: “We have been aware for a number of weeks that the way in which the statistics were to be reported was going to change.

“This meant that positive tests from the regional, satellite and mobile test centres would be included.

“The government has now published this Pillar 2 data. This reporting change does increase the figures and may make it look as though there has been a big rise in infection rates. This is not the case. It is linked solely to a change in reporting."

It comes as the confirmed number of cases for North Yorkshire stands at 2,517, with an infection rate of 409 per 100,000 people.

And Dr Sargeant said if people maintain social distancing and personal hygiene, cases with continue to fall and the region will head further away from the threat of a local lockdown.

“New cases in North Yorkshire continue to decline, but we must not be complacent", he said. "We all need to play our part to maintain this progress".

A total of 81 coronavirus related deaths have been recorded at Harrogate District Hospital since the pandemic began.

A further 99 deaths have been recorded at the district's care homes - almost half of which have been hit by a virus outbreak at some point during the pandemic.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

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