Wolverhampton and Dudley flagged as potential coronavirus hotspots heading for local lockdown
Wolverhampton and Dudley have been flagged as possible coronavirus hotspots that could follow Leicester into a local lockdown.
Analysis by King's College London of data provided by local volunteers suggests the two Black Country boroughs are second only to Leicester in terms of being potential hotspots.
The same team used data from their Covid tracker app to predict Leicester’s fate ahead of it being put under a local lockdown at the beginning of the week.
It comes despite no new coronavirus deaths being reported in any hospitals across the Black Country, Birmingham and Staffordshire on three separate days this week.
And the latest Government statistics show the "rate" of cases per 100,000 population is 524.8 in Wolverhampton and 405.8 in Dudley. In Leicester it is more than double both areas at 1,083.8.
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Were there to be a spike there would be a lag between people reporting symptoms, cases being confirmed and the number of deaths rising.
The College's Covid Symptom Study uses data provided by 3.7 million people across the UK who have downloaded an app and are using it to regularly report on their health.
According to data from the study, Wolverhampton’s Covid-19 cases grew by 1.2 per cent in the 10 days to July 1, with Dudley’s up 1.1 per cent. The rates are higher than Leicester which saw a 0.9 growth in the same period.
Wolverhampton and Dudley have been identified as possible hotspots based off the study's three criteria of:
- Having a significantly higher prevalence than neighbouring authorities
- Being in the top 10th percentile of prevalence for the UK
- Having a prevalence that is higher today than 10 days ago
The app uses a model to estimate the prevalence of Covid-19 in each area based off reported symptoms and swab test results reported by users.
Government figures show 1,375 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Wolverhampton since the pandemic began and 1,301 people have tested positive in Dudley.
So far a total of 286 people have died with the virus at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, while 263 have died at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College, said: “This fresh look at the data was inspired by the local lockdown in Leicester, we challenged ourselves to see if our app data could highlight any other local hotspots and we are really pleased that it does.
"The new model picked up Leicester as a consistent hotspot back on the 17th June which suggests it is accurately picking up places of concern.
"With our data now flagging up potential new hotspots, it will allow for greater surveillance and focussed testing that could detect problems like Leicester much earlier and hopefully reduce the number of major lockdowns.
"But to do this more successfully we still need more people to join us by logging how they are feeling each day so we can send out kits to those feeling unwell and catch these outbreaks and help us closely monitor what is going on in the UK population.”
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