West Sussex expected to remain in Tier 2 as Covid rates remain ‘reasonable’

Covid levels in West Sussex are ‘reasonable’ but rising, the county council’s director of public health has reported.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 3:05 pm

At a meeting of the cabinet this morning (Tuesday December 15), Dr Tony Hill warned that people needed to follow hygiene and social distancing advice very carefully as it would be months before the vaccine started to have an impact.

The latest infection figures show that, in the week up to December 9, the county recorded 86.1 cases per 100,000 population, compared to the national average of 173.3.

Crawley had the highest number of cases (102.3 per 100,000) while Adur had the lowest with 57.5.

A West Sussex Covid-19 testing site

In the over-60s, who are most at risk of dying after contracting the virus, Arun recorded the highest numbers (82.4 per 100,000) while Adur was the lowest at 5.3.

Dr Hill said that incomplete data for the following week indicated that the number of cases was rising.

As for the positivity rate – the percentage of positive tests recorded – in the seven days leading up to December 8, Crawley had the highest, with 4.3 per cent of tests reading positive while Worthing was the lowest at 1.6 per cent.

The government is expected to announce which area will be in which Tier tomorrow.

While Dr Hill felt West Sussex would stay in Tier 2, he stressed the need for people to be sensible.

He said: “Things are looking reasonable if you compare them with other parts of the country – but they are high compared to what we were reporting not that very long ago.

“We do need to be alert and we do need to follow the advice about precautions very carefully.”

As for the vaccine, it is currently being administered by Brighton’s Royal Sussex Hospital to the over 80s, health care workers at high risk and people who work in care homes.

Dr Hill said a number of GPs were expected to start doing the same later this week.

He added: “Over coming weeks and months as more vaccine becomes available there will be more hospital hubs, more GP led local vaccination services, some larger vaccination centres and a roving service to take vaccines into people’s homes if they can’t get to a vaccination site.”

Until then, the message is the same as it has been for the past nine months – wear a mask, use hand sanitiser, wash you hands, make space and, if possible, work from home.

Dr Hill said: “It will be some months before the vaccine begins to have an impact and we can begin to relax those requirements.

“It is not happening now just because we’ve started using a vaccine.”