NOTTINGHAM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONDS TO 'SUDDEN RISE' IN CORONAVIRUS CASES IN NOTTINGHAM
 

On Saturday 10 October 2020, the Nottingham Post's Andrew Topping reported an interview with Alison Challenger, Nottingham City Public Health Director, in which she outlined reasons for the 'sudden rise' in coronavirus cases in Nottingham, which she says cannot be fully accounted for yet, but which have pushed Nottingham into becoming the area of England with the most active cases of the virus: Data published on Friday 9 October gave the City's rate as 750 cases per 100,000 people. ...

Nottingham Lockdown: Public health boss outlines reason for 'sudden rise' in Covid-19 cases

'This last seven days has made quite a dramatic difference for us'

The public health boss in Nottingham says there are "many reasons" for the rise in Covid-19 cases across the city.

However, she "can't fully account" for why the number of cases increased "so suddenly".

Alison Challenger, public health director for Nottingham, says increased testing, 'rapid' spread amongst students and increased household mixing have led to this surge in cases.

It has caused Nottingham to climb the leaderboard and become the area in England with the most active cases of the virus per population.

Figures show that the city's rate per 100,000 people has risen as high as 750 cases per 100,000 people, according to data released on Friday.

Figures from Nottingham City Council's weekly Covid-19 surveillance report also show that the median age of infected people now sits at around 21 years old.

It follows huge surges in cases amongst neighbourhoods heavily-populated by students, including Lenton, Radford, The Park and The Arboretum.

The University of Nottingham confirmed earlier this week that more than 400 cases have been recorded as part of its in-house testing regime.

Nottingham Trent University has also recorded positive cases, however, it is not disclosing exactly how many students have contracted the virus.

Speaking on the spike, Mrs Challenger says the virus is "spreading quite rapidly" amongst the student communities, particularly within shared households.

However, she says there is "not a singular reason" for the sudden influx of cases in general.

"It has been a sudden rise, the rates were still high last week and rising but we know we have got a background of increasing rates," she told Nottinghamshire Live.

"This last seven days has made quite a dramatic difference for us and there will be many reasons, not a singular reason, for this.

"We have got higher rates of spread, we've got more testing available so we're picking up more of what is already in the population.

"We also know it is spreading quite rapidly amongst our young population, but particularly where students live together and socialise together.

"So of course it is going to be in those areas where there is more mixing between households and it isn't a single reason why we've got this spike.

"[On] the suddenness of that rate increase, I think we can't fully account for that yet and it may be that cases have all come in and there might have been a time lag.

"But the bottom line is that the cases are high and the number is what the number is.

"This is why we need people to be active now on that, so we can try and stem that rise even further."

Mrs Challenger's words come as Nottingham and the wider Nottinghamshire county prepare for stricter Covid-19 restrictions next week.

Mark Spencer, MP for Sherwood and the Government's chief whip, told Nottinghamshire Live on Friday that measures will "100 percent" come into effect in the middle of the week - and will be stricter than current guidance.

However, a Nottingham MP has accused the Government of "abandoning" the city by waiting a week to enforce the rules.

The delay means that, despite Nottingham having the highest rate in the country, it is the only local authority in the five worst-affected areas nationally to not be under a form of local restriction.

Nottingham Lockdown: Public health boss outlines reason for 'sudden rise' in Covid-19 cases - Nottinghamshire Live