Agenda item

COVID Update Presentation


Jo Broadbent provided Members with an update on the latest Thurrock COVID Data and Intelligence:


·         Current Picture, Rate per 100K Population and Positivity – Thurrock’s positivity rate for the last seven days was 358 per 100K residents. In comparison to January 2021 when the positivity rate was about 1500 per 100K.

·         Current Picture, Positive Tests, Testing and Positivity – Rates fluctuated between 50 and 100 cases a day and had stayed at this level and not fallen back down to the low levels we had in April and May. The test rates and positivity rates mirrored each other so no peaks had been seen with the positivity rate about 8%.

·         Total Tests by Age – Breakdown of tests by age and gender with consistently higher testing amongst female residents with low levels of testing across all age groups. The rate of 10 to 19 year olds back in September was much greater due to testing amongst school children at the start of term.

·         Current Picture – Positive Tests by Age Band – Over the past couple of months the highest rates had consistently been in the 10 to 19 age group and about two weeks ago that positivity rate in that age group was over 1000 per 100K. This was now down to 650 which had been due to the impact of half term. Work had been undertaken with schools to try and stop spread between year groups through sibling transmission. A number of actions taken with schools had brought the positivity rate down. The age group 40 to 49 for the past few weeks had been the second highest group and over the past month rates had been increasingly slowly in the over 60s.

·         BTUH bed occupancy by type – Thurrock and Non Thurrock residents – Lower and more consistent rates now when compared to earlier in the year. A consistent number of Covid beds occupied with a few with mechanical and non-invasive ventilation although most were just oxygen therapy.

·         Vaccinations – Uptakes in the various different age and risk groups. The uptake of the vaccine in the over 18s had stalled with very slow increases. The vaccination rollout continued for the younger groups of 16 to 17 and 12 to 15 age groups. School based programmes were in place to book vaccination and bookings could be made through the National Booking Service.

·         Confirmed Cases – Map identified the distribution of cases of unique postcodes within the borough who had at least one case in the latest seven days data. Highest case rates were within Purfleet and Grays with much of the rest of the borough with low number of cases. There were only a handful of schools with an outbreak, 13 schools recovering from an outbreak and one care home with a live breakout which was all good. That the community transmission had begun to decrease and much lower activity in the educational and care home settings.


Jo Broadbent concluded that:


·         Thurrock’s overview rate of positive tests had increased steadily between 29 September and 20 October but since then had levelled off with Thurrock remaining in the lowest third in the country (104th out of 149 UTLAs).

·         Case rates currently highest in ages 11-18. Rates had peaked before half term but had since reduced.

·         The number of PCR tests taken by Thurrock residents had decreased slightly in recent weeks.

·         LFD tests comprised the majority of testing recorded in the last week.

·         Geographic distribution of cases showed all LSOAs had seen a positive test result in the most recent 14 days.

·         Hospital bed use had increased recently with a small number of critical care beds continuing to be occupied. With 11 Covid positive admission for a Thurrock residents to BTUH in the most recent week of data.

·         Vaccines continued to be administered in line with the Covid-19 Vaccination Priority Groups.

·         The Key Priorities were to maximise vaccine updated by all over 18s, roll out of the vaccination for 12-15 year olds in school, key message continued and anyone identified as a close contact of a case should get a PCR, including household contact of cases.


Councillor Ralph thanked Jo Broadbent for the report and questioned the age group of 60 to 69 who had been hospitalised and whether those being admitted to hospital had been double vaccinated. Unfortunately that data was not to hand but it would be likely to see some people who had been double vaccinated come into hospital but a larger number or larger proportion of those unvaccinated were likely to be hospitalised.


Councillor Ralph questioned what ideas and suggestions were being made to increase the vaccination figures to which Jo Broadbent stated they had tried to be creative, inclusive and a lot of research on vaccine hesitancy in Thurrock and had engaged a social marketing research company to do some work on that. That key messages were out there to address people’s concerns which were mainly around rapidity of the vaccine, development and sort of associated safety concerns. A lot of community dialogues had also been undertaken to address those different types of concern, short videos on Instagram and other social media platforms. Analysis of the uptake by geographical area, age, ethnicity and gender and had several mobile vaccination units in the borough. Councillor Ralph referred to the mobile vaccination bus at Lakeside and stated this should be located more centrally in the shopping centre so that more people can see it and hopefully use it. Kim James suggested that school assemblies would be an ideal place to explain the vaccination process and hopefully help to elevate any fears or concerns to which Jo Broadbent stated that EPUT were already in contact with Heads of Schools and offers of this service were already in place.


Councillor Snell stated his concern on the reactions that the vaccination were having on some people and specifically referred to Gitelman Syndrome and that stories or theories being told about the vaccination may deter that cohort still deciding whether to have the vaccine or not. Councillor Sammons also echoed Councillor Snell’s concerns.


Councillor Holloway asked whether any data on the booster jab was available and how many Thurrock residents had taken that that offer up to which Jo Broadbent stated this data was not to hand but would send to members following the meeting.


Councillor Piccolo questioned whether the take up of the vaccination in the 14 year old age bracket was a national figure or just particular to Thurrock to which Jo Broadbent stated Thurrock was not too different from national levels and although there had been some hesitancy the roll out was being undertaken through schools. This was not a rapid rollout as the service had not been designed for a rapid rollout rather than as an annual programme.


Councillor Fish stated his concerns on inaccessibility to some of the vaccination sites, referred to the mortality rates and questioned the profiles of those and whether any were from Thurrock to which Jo Broadbent stated this information was not to hand and would provide this following the meeting. That the number of recent deaths in Thurrock, over the last seven day reporting data, was low with low hospitalisations of around seven to eight. Ian Wake stated there were 40 people in Basildon Hospital with Covid but unable to confirm how many of those were from Thurrock. That it would be dangerous to take raw hospital bed data and assume this had been driven by Covid.


Councillor Ralph questioned whether there were any outbreaks in Basildon Hospital to which Mark Tebbs stated there were about 45 Covid patients in Basildon Hospital with a third of the ITU beds occupied by Covid patients but the hospital was managing some very sick people. Mark Tebbs stated that the current data showed no reported outbreaks in Basildon Hospital but stated the hospitals were extremely busy with very high attendance levels into A&E. There were reporting over 100 reported cases over the three hospitals with some very sick people in ITU.