A more accurate picture of the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Bedford and the rest of the UK is now being reported by Public Health England.
And while it appears that Bedford has seen an overnight spike of an additional 422 cases, it is simply the inclusion of pillar 2 data.
After repeated calls from local politicians and health leaders in Bedford, Public Health England is finally reporting both pillar 1 and pillar 2 data in its daily coronavirus statistics.
Pillar 2 data is that which has been collected from drive-through testing labs and home testing kits was not previously included in Public Health England (PHE)’s daily data.
By including data collected in all settings, we now have a far more accurate picture of the number of confirmed cases in Bedford Borough.
Utilising pillar 1 and pillar 2 data, the total, number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bedford Borough, since they started being recorded, is 1,227.
And while this gives the impression that there has been an overnight rise of 422 cases in Bedford Borough, this is not the case.
It simply reflects what Bedford’s leaders have suspected for many weeks: that PHE daily figures were substantially lower than the actual numbers.
And it explains why the town’s leaders have been advising greater caution during the relaxing of lockdown restrictions.
“The inclusion of ‘Pillar 2’ commercial testing data in the Government’s figures is something that we have been calling for locally for weeks now, so I am pleased that it is now there for all to see,” said Cllr Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for public health & wellbeing.
“This more realistic picture shows that we cannot be complacent.
“As we head into the weekend please remember that the infection rate in Bedford remains high, and you should stay home as much as possible, and if you do go out, maintain that all important 2 metres distance from others, wash your hands frequently and wear a face covering on public transport and in enclosed spaces.
“Coronavirus has not gone away.”
Mayor Dave Hodgson said, “Bedford Borough has, as of last night, 1,227 positive tests – or a rate 715 per 100,000 residents (cumulative i.e. total to date).
“This is one of the highest rates in the country and the highest in the south of England.
“While we have not had a spike, like Leicester, we need to remain cautious. To avoid the risk of a local lockdown, slow the spread of the virus and save lives, I am urging residents to stay at home as much as possible this weekend.
“If you do need to go out keep two metres apart, wear a face covering (particularly on public transport), and regularly wash your hands and please do follow the guidance of any shop, pub, restaurant or business that you visit.
“This week the Council adopted our Local Outbreak Plan and you can read it here. The Plan details what we will do if there is a new spike in cases or a localised outbreak. I hope we do not have to use it, but it is better to be prepared.”