It’s a good job the Government introduced a new statistical band for covid infections, as most of our area saw covid cases rocket in the seven days to 29th December and large parts of the Chronicle circulation area are in the highest band, 1,600 cases and above per 100,000 people; the national seven-day average up to 29th December was 1,526 cases per 100,00 people.
While Omicron seems milder, a small percentage of a large number is still a large number, and as Dr Anthony Fauci said this week, people should be looking at the hospitals, not the higher number of diagnosed cases.
However, the cases fell between the weekend and Tuesday, when this report was written, so maybe Omicron is peaking.
Across the country, between 28th December and 3rd January, there were 880 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, an increase of 17% compared to the previous seven days – but seven days ago, deaths had decreased by 5% compared to the previous seven days.
This was despite the fact that between the same two dates, 1,189,985 people had a confirmed positive test result, an increase of 50% compared to the previous seven days.
Locally, in Staffordshire Moorlands there were two deaths between the 28th and the 3rd, an increase of 100% (up from one death the previous week); in Cheshire East, however, there were seven deaths in the same period, a rise of 600% compared to the previous seven days, when there was just one.
As for cases, in Cheshire East between the 28th and the 3rd, 7,631 people had a confirmed positive test result, an increase of 41.3% compared to the previous seven days. In the Moorlands, it was 1,482 people, an increase of 64.7%.
In the Moorlands, between 20th and 26th December, 106 people went into the care of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust with coronavirus, an increase of 51.4% compared to the previous seven days.
There were 84 patients in hospital with coronavirus on the 28th, 12 on ventilators. The trust includes not just the Moorlands but Stoke and Stafford.
In Cheshire East, 23 people with coronavirus were admitted to Macclesfield District General Hospital between 18th and 24th December, an increase of 109.1% compared to the previous seven days. There were 23 patients in hospital on 28th December, none on a ventilator.
Eight people with coronavirus were admitted to Leighton Hospital between the 20th and 26th, a decrease of 38.5% compared to the previous seven days. There were 23 patients in hospital on 28th December, two on ventilators.
As we explain every week, the Government colour codes infection rates. Below three cases in a so-called middle layer super output area – the smallest area identified by the Government for counting – and it is colour-coded white. It’s a long time since we saw white. As the rates increase, the colours go from yellow (0-9 cases 100,000 people), light green then dark (10-99 cases), light blue to dark (100-399) then light maroon to dark (400 to 1,599). Dark maroon used to be 800 cases and more but now it is up to 1,599 with a new colour – black – for cases of 1,600 and over.
The national seven-day average up to the 29th was 1,526 cases per 100,00 people.
Black: last week, the new higher band of 1,600 cases plus in seven days per 100,000 people had avoided our area. Macclesfield South and Lyme Green notched up a rolling rate of 1,570, with 95 new cases, up 49, and this week it was still black, with 110 new cases (+14) but now it has been joined by some local parishes.
The large Cranage and Goostrey area, which runs from the north of Cranage to Nick i’ th’ Hill via Swettenham and Astbury, had 120 new cases (+41), pushing it into the higher black zone, with a rolling rate of 1,724, up from 1,135 last week and above the national average of 1,526.
Congleton Town was also black, with 122 new cases (+41), rolling rate 1,690, up from 1,136. The rest of Congleton had fallen out of the highest band by Tuesday, despite being black on Sunday.
Alsager West recorded 105 new cases (+52), its rolling rate 1,767, up from 438; again the rest of Alsager was in a lower band. Haslington and Weston, which includes Oakhanger, saw 174 new cases (+88), its rolling rate up from 876 last week to 1,772 this week.
All of Sandbach rose from maroon to black as cases increased. Sandbach Heath had 89 new cases (+40), rolling rate 1,650, up from 909; Sandbach Ettiley Heath and Wheelock logged 172 new cases (+47), rolling rate 1,821, up from 1,324; with Sandbach North at 111 new cases (+47), rolling rate 1,777, up from 512.
Holmes Chapel last week had the highest rate in the Chronicle circulation area. This week it was in the black, with 119 new cases (+31), its rolling rate 1,892, up from 1,399.
Middlewich East also moved into the black, with 141 new cases (+49), rolling rate 1,741, up from 1,136.
Lostock and Wincham, which extends between Middlewich and Holmes Chapel, had 169 new cases (+67), rolling rate 1,927, up from 1,1623.
Mobberley, Plumley and High Legh, the doughnut-shaped area around Knutsford, reported 220 new cases, up 41, rolling rate 1,836, up from 1,502. South Knutsford and Bexton had 140 new cases (+55), rolling rate 2,086 from 1,266 while Knutsford North saw 127 new cases (+43), rolling rate up from 1,332 to 2,014, putting Knutsford as the area with the highest rate of infections.
Dark Maroon: everywhere else in the area we cover was dark maroon.
Starting in the south, Endon and Brown Edge recorded 66 new cases (+15), rolling rate 1,016 per 100,000 people.
Biddulph North and Brown Lees logged 67 new cases (+32), rolling rate 1,075, up from 578. Biddulph Moor and Rudyard had 70 new cases (+31), its rolling rate up from 522 to a mere 937. Biddulph Central reported 90 new cases (+31), rolling rate 1,067, up from 699.
Kidsgrove East, which includes Mow Cop, reported 90 new cases (+23) rolling rate 1,124, up from 849.
Over the border, Hightown, Mossley and Timbersbrook had 79 new cases (+19), rolling rate 1,462, up from 1,110.
Buglawton had 92 new cases (+32), rolling rate 1,283, up from 809, while Congleton West Heath had 90 new cases (+21), rolling rate 1,280, up from 982.
The large Scholar Green, Rode Heath and Brereton area, which runs to the border with Staffs, logged 128 new cases (+23), rolling rate up to 1,155 from 948.
Gawsworth and Macclesfield Forest, another large area, which reaches to Goostrey and covers Marton and Eaton, had 153 new cases, up 26, its rolling rate 1,574, up from 1,308.
Alsager East hung on as a lower infection zone, although it moved up a banding from light to dark maroon, with 90 new cases (+48), rolling rate 1,381, up from 629.
Middlewich West reported 89 new cases (+45), rolling rate 1,475 up from 720 last week.
Alderley Edge and Chelford saw 140 new cases (+14), rolling rate 1,666, up from 1,488.
Only one area we have been reporting on saw a drop: Davenham and Moulton, an area running to the west of Middlewich, reported 78 new cases (-12), although its rolling rate was still 1,278.