Significant drop in Covid-19 cases in Brighton and Hove

In the last month, there has been a significant reduction in the number of positive Covid-19 cases in Brighton and Hove.

Covid-19 cases reducing in June and July

The news came from the city’s director of public health Alistair Hill, at a meeting of the city council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday (July 15).

During the meeting, Mr Hill said there were six days at the start of July without any positive test results in the city.

However, these figures are updated continuously, and the data shows just five zero case days, between 3-7 July.

The latest figures – which include both NHS  and privately conducted tests – show the city has eight new cases in the last seven days.

The committee heard how Brighton and Hove has a very low number of infections compared with other areas nationally, with 263 cases per 100,000 population.

Officially confirmed cases, where people took a test up to 15 July, are 779 in the city, although these numbers are likely to change for the same period as new lab results come in.

Mr Hill said the actual figures are likely to be higher as many people experience no symptoms and may not be tested.

He said: “The rate is much lower than nationally, that is partially explained by our younger age distribution, we knew people were more likely to be tested who were sicker.

“Those more likely to be ill tend to be older and have other health conditions.”

Hundreds of people are tested every day in the city. The percentages of positive tests is approximately one per cent.

In other areas such as Leicester and Manchester, Mr Hill said the positive rates are significantly higher.

High-risk areas are enclosed spaces, indoor environment and places without good ventilation.

The authority is promoting effective social distancing, 2 metres if possible, if not possible, then face coverings.

Mr Hill said: “We will have to live alongside Covid until we have an effective vaccine.

“The good news is the level of infection in the community is significantly lower, and we are having few positive test results.

“However, as restrictions are lifted, and the economy opens up, there are significant risks of outbreaks.”

The local outbreak plan available on the council website aims to prevent and contain the spread.

At the moment, Mr Hill said the authority is looking at places where outbreaks might be likely by carrying out risk assessments.

He said there are “robust” measures in place for a rapid response in care homes and schools.

Up to 3 July, 158 people in Brighton and Hove died with Covid-19 on the death certificate.

The highest number of deaths was the week ending 17 April.

Between 17 April and the week ending 3 July, all deaths have reduced.

From the week ending 27 March to 15 May, there were excess deaths compared with the five-year average.

During January and February, the death rate was lower than the five-year-average, which Mr Hill put down to the mild winter with the lower rates of flu and other respiratory diseases.

In the city, there were 57 deaths in the city’s care home.

Mr Hill said approximately 30 per cent of care homes, a total of 25 in the city, have had outbreaks of Covid-19.

This has reduced significantly, and in the last fortnight, one care home had an outbreak.

Brighton and Hove is ranked lower than average for care home deaths at 230th out of 317 local authorities in England.

City council executive director for health and adult social care, Rob Persey said a lot of work was happening to get as much information as possible out to a broad audience.

He said: “If we knew at the outset what we know now things would be different.

“We are trying to learn things as we go. We are not through this crisis yet.

“It is still an ongoing issue. We don’t have a vaccine yet.”

Up-to-date statistics are now available on the city council’s website at new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/covid-19-key-statistics-brighton-hove