Latest York coronavirus briefing gives cause for hope

A social distancing sign near the illuminated Bootham Bar. Photograph: YorkMix

York can be “confident” that coronavirus rates are truly falling in the city – according to public health bosses.

The latest figures show there are fewer people testing positive, a significant reduction in cases among students and the number of coronavirus patients in York Hospital is also decreasing.

The highest rate of new cases has been in people aged 40 to 59 and Haxby is the area with the highest rate of infection – but public health director Sharon Stoltz said the numbers are still low.

Ms Stoltz told councillors: “We can be fairly confident that our reducing numbers are a true reduction because all of the indicators are heading downwards.

“Since October the general picture has been of a reducing trend.”

She said cases have fallen significantly since a peak of 445 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people on October 16.

Hospital admissions fall

York Hospital. Photograph: YorkMix

The number of people with coronavirus at York Hospital has also fallen – with 34 inpatients on December 3 compared to 68 the week before.

About a third of inpatients are York residents – with the other patients coming from elsewhere in North Yorkshire as the hospital covers a wider area than the city itself.

Cases have also dropped at the universities.

And students and staff could also be tested on their return to York after the Christmas break.

More than 7,000 rapid tests known as lateral flow tests have been carried out at the two universities. About 0.01 per cent of tests have come back positive.

York’s outbreak board will hear about plans for mass testing of students and staff upon their return in 2021.

There are plans to stagger the return of students to allow for testing in January and February.