At the beginning of July the government started to publish additional COVID-19 testing data, meaning that the daily data from community testing is now available at local level as well as from testing in health and care settings.
Northamptonshire’s Public Health team are now beginning to publish more of this data to help local residents have a better understanding of the local picture of COVID-19 cases.
This latest release of data will show COVID-19 cases in local communities within boroughs and districts, each with a minimum population of 5,000 residents and are identifiable to residents as areas within larger towns or villages.
Importantly, case numbers overall in Northamptonshire and across all parts of the county are declining and have been following a downward trend for several weeks. There are, however, “focus areas” where case numbers may be higher than others during a particular point in time.
Reasons for peaks in case numbers can vary but contributing factors include outbreaks in localised settings, such as care homes or workplaces. For instance, outbreaks in two different workplaces within a local community could impact the data within that area.
Rida Elkheir, Consultant in Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, says: “We have seen how local restrictions can be imposed in neighbouring Leicestershire when case numbers increase rapidly, so we must all continue to act responsibly to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
“Where outbreaks occur within local settings, we follow a number of interventions, including testing, advice and guidance on infection and prevention control and the isolation of infected individuals to reduce the risk of further transmission.
“The key to controlling the virus lies with every one of us, as residents or employees within the county, to continue to follow government guidance on social distancing, thorough and regular hand washing and minimising the number of people that we have contact with.”
The publication of this data enables a greater understanding of the local picture relating to COVID-19 cases. Over time, the data will inform advice and guidance to local residents, who may need to adapt or change behaviours in order to reduce rates and minimise the spread of the virus.
Anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms (high temperature, continuous cough or loss of / change in sense of smell or taste) should immediately self-isolate with their household and visit nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 to find out how they can get tested.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be helped by the NHS test and trace service to identify the people they’ve recently been in contact with so they can be alerted.
People who have had close recent contact with someone with coronavirus must then self-isolate for 14 days, if they are advised to do so by the NHS test and trace service, to help contain the spread of infection.
To access the latest data published by Public Health Northamptonshire, click here.