'Positive news' as Hartlepool's Covid rate drops below 100 for the first time this year
Hartlepool’s health bosses have reported “positive” news that the Covid-19 case rate in the town has dropped below 100 for the first time this year.
Earlier this week Hartlepool’s director of public health Craig Blundred had raised concerns over the Covid-19 weekly case rate per 100,000 of the population becoming “persistently stuck” around the 100 to 120 mark.
Yet speaking to councillors on Thursday, March 18, he reported the rate had dropped to 97, noting it was positive news despite the need for it to decrease further.
Mr Blundred said: “One interesting point was the latest data I received showed that we had actually dropped below 100 per 100,000, we were around about 97 for the previous seven days.
“I think I have to stress that’s still very high in terms of the number of cases, but it is much more positive.
“We will obviously be looking at that closely and monitoring it because we have, as I say, had quite a considerable amount of time around about the 120 mark and it didn’t seem to be coming down, it was quite persistent. “
He added everyone still needs to work to ensure the rates decrease further, with Hartlepool still above the national average.
Seven-day case rates of around 780 to 800 cases per 100,000 of the population in January this year have decreased rapidly until the recent plateauing.
Mr Blundred also reiterated that an anticipated spike in cases caused by schools fully reopening had not happened, adding: “I think what we’ve seen is that’s been steady, the number of cases we’ve been identifying, and that hasn’t caused at the moment any major increases in the number of positive cases we’ve seen.
“That’s not to say we aren’t seeing cases coming through, but they do seem to be reasonably steady and not increasing.”
Mr Blundred, who was reporting to Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee, added: “One of the things to flag up is that we’ve seen quite a concerted effort to increase the number of people getting tested in the last few weeks.
“I think it is reflected in some of the numbers that we are seeing much, much higher levels of testing, and again that may go part of the way to explain why our numbers have plateaued.”