Corby's Covid hotspot 'masked' by North Northamptonshire local government shake-up

Figures will no longer be published for the borough with England's highest infection rate

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 11:34 am

Corby s Covid hotspot will become largely invisible to the public from Thursday thanks to the shake-up in local government.

No, it's not an April Fool's gag!

The borough will disappear along with Wellingborough, Kettering and East Northants when the new North Northamptonshire unitary authority takes over on April 1.

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That will also mean Corby disappearing from being top of a list of areas with the country's highest Covid-19 case rates.

Local health chiefs admit the change will cover up variations in the number of new cases across the county from public view.

Public Health Northamptonshire consultant Rhosyn Harris admitted: "When you show an average for wider areas it often masks the picture in smaller areas."

Officials say they hope to still receive government and NHS data relating to the old districts and boroughs — information which is currently seen daily on the government's coronavirus dashboard.

North Northamptonshire takes over functions of the county council plus four district and borough councils from Thursday
North Northamptonshire takes over functions of the county council plus four district and borough councils from Thursday

But it is likely to be published only as part of a weekly surveillance pack from Friday, April 9, which will include confirmed figures from the previous Sunday.

Director of Public Health, Lucy Wightman, added: "We need to recognise that people will continue to consider themselves belonging to Corby or belonging to Daventry.

"It will take time for people to identify with the new authorities and our teams will continue to report on smaller geography level according to the old districts and boroughs.

"We feel really important to report that way and for transparency, assuming we get the data in the way that allows us to do so."

North Northamptonshire's range of Covid case rates in different districts boroughs will be replaced by one figure from Thursday. Source: gov.uk/coronavirus/cases

Daily figures on new positive tests in all seven of Northamptonshire's boroughs and districts are used to work out a weekly rate per 100,000 people in order to compare how the virus is spreading in different areas.

Corby currently has a weekly infection rate a whisker away from five times worse than Wellingborough, 220.2 per 100,000 compared to 47.7 using raw data from last night's dashboard.

Yet from Thursday both figures will replaced by one for North Northamptonshire taking in both boroughs plus East Northants (104.7) and Kettering (65.8) — giving a figure of 104.0.

Corby has been in the Covid-19 spotlight since the turn of the year as cases remained stubbornly high.

Another surge in positive tests has carried the weekly rate back beyond 200 per 100,000 after it had dropped to 124.6 on March 6.

Yet both Wellingborough and Kettering have seen a sharp reduction in the number of new positive tests taking figures there closer to the national average of 56.4.