Public Health chief warns picture is "very stark" after another record rise in Northamptonshire's coronavirus cases

'There will likely be a lag before we see the impact of the national lockdown,' warns Lucy Wightman

Northamptonshire's top health official warned the picture is "very stark" after another record rise in coronavirus cases in the county.

Friday's weekly Covid-19 press briefing will be told that numbers of positive tests in all areas of the county are continuing to increase seven days into a national lockdown.

Official data from Public Health Northamptonshire collated on Sunday (November 8) will show around 1,300 cases in the previous week.

Yet Government figures released yesterday (Thursday) revealed 367 positive tests in Northamptonshire during the latest 24-hour period — with a weekly total of more than 1,700.

The previous highest number of positive swabs in a single day was 249 just two days previously.

FOLLOW Friday's weekly Covid-19 press briefing LIVE on our Chronicle & Echo and Northants Telegraph websites from 3pm

Public Health Director, Lucy Wightman, is begging residents to stick to the lockdown rules to avoid the virus spreading even faster, leading to an increase in hospital cases and deaths.

Northampton's town centre has been largely deserted since lockdown started last Thursday

Mrs Wightman said: "We have seen more than 9,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and sadly I'm expecting those figures to continue to increase this week.

"There is likely to be a lag before we see the impact of the additional restrictions during the national lockdown.

"The number of cases continues to put pressure on our NHS and, at the moment, it is a very stark picture locally."

Public Health England had listed 200-plus positive tests in Northamptonshire on eight consecutive days up to Wednesday and 16 coronavirus deaths have been confirmed in the county's main hospitals and care homes in eight days up to Wednesday of this week.

Analysts compare infection rates by assuming each area has an equal population of 100,000 — dividing the number of positive tests in a week by the actual poplulation and multiplying by 100,000. These figures are calculated using data published daily on the Government coronavirus dashboard — Public Health England allow an extra four days before declaring data official to allow for corrections although these are usually minor and the daily figures give a strong indication of where numbers are trending.

Northampton also saw its highest daily rise on Thursday — 114 — although East Northamptonshire is now the district with the highest infection rate in the county.

Similar rises in Covid-19 cases during October in England's hardest hit areas persuaded the Prime Minister to ditch his local, tiered warning system in favour of a national response.

But Mrs Wightman told Thursday's meeting of the County Council Oversight and Engagement Board that numbers are now falling in those areas, yet rising fast in Northamptonshire.

She said: "Our case rate increase is now higher than the England average, and that is a real concern.

"Our charts showing the way case numbers are trending reflect that Northamptonshire is starting to catch up the with the national line and, sadly, that difference has decreased even further in the last week.,

"Other areas where we've seen case rates go down were in higher tiers and therefore have had tighter restrictions in place for a number of weeks.

"We went into the second lockdown period with a significantly increasing trend so we have to use this period of time to get back on top of the virus, locally."