The number of new coronavirus cases recorded in Wales is the lowest it’s been since the end of November.
The week ending January 17 saw 8,545 new cases recorded in Wales -equating to 271 cases per 100,000 – according to headline figures published by Public Health Wales.
What does headline figure mean?
In recent months, Caerphilly Observer and other media have been reporting the headline figures from Public Health Wales.
For example, the headline figure released on Friday, January 22 saw 28 new cases of coronavirus in Caerphilly County Borough.
This figure however is not entirely as it seems at first glance. It is the number of new cases PHW were aware of as of January 21 – the day before.
Even then, this figure is still not what you think it ought to be as it includes positive tests that may have occurred a few days prior, but that PHW were only made aware of on January 21.
The headline figure for Caerphilly County Borough for January 21 (which was published on January 22) is 28 new cases.
Of the 51,895 tests carried out across Wales between January 11 and January 17, 16.5% came back positive.
The week before (January 4 to January 10), there were 11,743 new cases confirmed in Wales – 372.5 cases per 100,000 people – with a positivity rate of 19% from 61,797 tests.
Wales was placed under ‘Alert Level 4‘ lockdown restrictions on December 20.
These restrictions will remain in place until at least January 29, when Welsh Government will complete it’s three-week review into the coronavirus situation in the country.
The situation in Caerphilly County Borough
The week ending January 17 saw 442 new cases recorded in Caerphilly County Borough. This equates to 244.1 cases per 100,000 people – below the Wales-wide average of 271.
Out of 2,986 tests taken, 14.8% came back positive, which is again below the Wales-wide average.
The previous week, 628 new cases were recorded – which equates to an incidence rate of 346.8 cases per 100,000 people, with a positivity rate of 17.7% from 3,544 tests.
The number of cases recorded in Caerphilly County Borough between January 11 and January 17 is the lowest weekly figure since the week ending October 18.
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Number of cases still “extremely high”
Dr Giri Shankar, coronavirus incident director at Public Health Wales, said: “We are increasingly confident in the data, which is showing a consistent downward trend in the numbers of positive cases in Wales.
“However, the numbers of cases is extremely high, and this is placing extreme pressure on our NHS Wales hospitals.”
Dr Shankar added: “The new variant of coronavirus prevalent in many parts of Wales is up to 70% more transmissible, so it is still vital that everyone continues to remain vigilant, by staying at home and sticking to the rules.
“This way we will avoid adding to the pressure on hospitals and will keep people safe.”
Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said the decreasing number of new coronavirus cases “will be a relief to many in the health service who have had to cope with so much in recent weeks”.
What is the Welsh NHS Confederation?
The Welsh NHS Confederation is a body made up of the seven health boards and three NHS trusts in Wales, as well as Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW).
According to its website, the Welsh NHS Confederation “support[s] our members to improve health and wellbeing by working with them to deliver high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers’ money.
“We act as a driving force for positive change through strong representation and our policy, influencing and engagement work.”
Mr Hughes said NHS staff have “worked flat out to treat people with coronavirus and deliver healthcare to others with the most serious health conditions”, but added: “Many of those on the frontlines will be saying they are not out of the woods yet”.
He continued: “Hospitalisations and critical care units are still operating at very high levels, and some departments are working at well over capacity. This puts the NHS in Wales in a very precarious position.
“If we take our foot off the gas, we could find ourselves in the same position we found ourselves in over Christmas and New Year.
“We know that the restrictions introduced are difficult for so many people in Wales, but we need everyone in Wales to continue to work hard to bring those numbers down.
“If we continue the good progress we’re making, that will ease the pressure on the NHS and it will enable us to free up more resources to vaccinate even more people than we are doing now.”
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