Hertfordshire’s December covid peak ‘substantially’ lower than previous winters, councillors told

But councillors say data might not be accurate
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There was an increase in cases of Covid-19 in Hertfordshire in December driven by the latest variant, according to data.

But with limited testing for the virus, there were suggestions that published covid data could now give a ‘false impression’.

The latest data – reported to a meeting of the Hertfordshire County Council’s public health and community safety cabinet panel on Tuesday (February 6) – suggests cases peaked around December 20.

New data shows covid peak lower than previous winters.New data shows covid peak lower than previous winters.
New data shows covid peak lower than previous winters.

There were, according to the data, 173 cases recorded in that week. That’s 102 fewer than in an earlier peak in September/October, when there was a weekly peak of 275

At the meeting, head of health protection Geraldine Bruce said the recent wave of infection had been driven by the newest JN.1 variant, but was ‘substantially’ lower than in previous winters.

And at the meeting she said they were not currently seeing any surges in cases in the county.

But she also stressed the data was different to previous years, because there was not the testing capacity that there had been.

And that means it may not be as reflective of actual numbers of cases in the community.

Meanwhile national data presented to the panel revealed that the weekly number of confirmed cases in England on January 10 was 874 – down from 1253 the week before.

That’s almost a quarter of the number of cases during the same week last year, which was 3,361.

Pointing to limited testing, at the meeting Conservative Cllr Sunny Thusu suggested the data was now ‘redundant’, and could give a ‘false impression’ – suggesting that there is now more covid but less hospitalisation.

Ms Bruce said she agreed and suggested the panel focussed on other areas.

The report also highlighted the reducing take-up of covid vaccination boosters in the county.

Overall, of those eligible for covid vaccination – including people over 65, front-line health ad care workers, carers and pregnant women – it was reported 49 per cent took up the autumn booster.

Vaccination levels were as high as 72 per cent amongst the over-65s. But only 14 per cent of carers and staff working in care homes for older adult have had the latest booster.