Coronavirus infections have gone up in Greater Manchester since a local lockdown – but the spread of the virus now varies widely across the region.
When Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the new restrictions on Twitter on July 30, he said the government had been forced into action by the latest data.
At the time there were clear signs that infection rates were rising in nine of the ten boroughs across Greater Manchester.
So now that the new restrictions imposed across the region have been in effect for over a week, what will the government be seeing in the updated figures? And are there any grounds for the local lockdown to be lifted?
Overall, the number of people infected with coronavirus is still going up in Greater Manchester but the rate of increase has appeared to slow down.
There were a total of 901 infections across the region in the seven days after July 31st, when the new restrictions came into force. That was 86 cases more than the previous week, but a smaller increase than the previous two weeks.
When the numbers are examined at a local authority level, there is no longer a clear trend across the region.
While all the Greater Manchester local authorities, with the exception of Wigan, were seeing a rise in cases on July 30, now some are seeing cases levelling off or even falling.
As well as Oldham, cases are trending upwards in Rochdale, Tameside, Bolton and Bury but are flat in Salford, Stockport and Wigan. In Manchester and Trafford the trend has been downwards with lower numbers of cases reported week-on-week since local lockdown.
Here is the latest data for each of the ten boroughs:
Oldham have seen cases increase the strongest and now has a weekly infection rate of 87.7 per 100,000 people – the second highest rate of any area in the country. In the seven days after the local lockdown was imposed there were 208 positive tests in Oldham which was 65 more than in the week ending on July 31.
Last Wednesday, there were 41 cases recorded in a single day in Oldham, which was the most seen in the area since the height of the pandemic in April and there are real concerns that if rates keep climbing then further restrictions may be required in Oldham.
Leading up to the announcement of the new restrictions on July 31, Manchester had seen an upward trend in cases but that levelled off in the week after the local lockdown and has started to go down.
Manchester had over 200 cases in the week ending July 31 but this figure fell 10 per cent to 180 cases on the week ending August 7.
The infection rate of over 32 remains relatively high compared to the rest of the country and keeps the council on an amber alert level.
Local leaders in Wigan argued that the borough should be exempt from the restrictions imposed on Greater Manchester because of the relatively low infection rate there. Since the local lockdown started, the trend has remained relatively flat with some small fluctuations in the number of cases each day. The weekly infection rate has stayed well below the rate of 25 cases per 100,000 population, which is when a borough moves to Amber alert.
Tameside is one of the boroughs were the rise in cases before local lockdown has continued. The infection rate has been rising week on week since the middle of July and has now reached 36.2 in the area.
Trafford has seen the most marked decline in the infection rate in the first week of local lockdown. The chart shows that cases rose rapidly in the middle of July but actually peaked a couple of days before the new restrictions were brought in on July 30. The infection rate has fallen from 41.7 on 27 July to 21.1 on 7 August and the borough is now classed as having a ‘green’ alert level.
There is an upward trend in Salford which has largely continued since the local lockdown. In the week up until August 6, there were a total of 80 positive tests in Salford, which is the highest 7-day figure since May 9.
How the coronavirus infection rates have changed over the last four weeks and how the Greater Manchester boroughs compare
This is an interactive chart, click on the chart or the council names to see the data.
Bolton was not seeing any upward trend before the new restrictions were imposed but has seen a gradual increase in the number of positive cases since local lockdown. There are higher numbers of cases being reported than have been seen in Bolton since early June but there is not the spike in cases seen in some other boroughs.
Rochdale is showing evidence of a slight upward trend since local lockdown was imposed. The numbers remain below a peak seen earlier in July which had fallen away just as the new restrictions were brought in but the weekly infection rate is still very high at just under 40 per 100,000 residents, and well above the national average.
There is also less of a distinct trend in Bury than in other areas. There were 19 cases recorded on Monday 3rd August, which is the most reported in a day since the end of May. But while this has pushed the infection rate to over 30 cases per 100,000 population, it is not clear if this is part of an upward trend.
Stockport had shown signs of cases spiking in the week leading up to the local lockdown but they have since levelled off. The number of cases was lower after a week of lockdown, compared with the week before. However, the borough recorded 17 cases on Wednesday 5th August and 18 cases the following day, which are both relatively high compared to the numbers seen in June and July.
About the data
Data is published every day but the numbers for the most recent 2-3 days are usually incomplete as test results will not have been logged yet.
They are for confirmed coronavirus cases in Pillar 1 and 2 tests and this information is one of the key datasets taken into account when the government and local authorities decide on policy, lockdowns and other restrictions.
There is evidence that there has been an increase in the number of tests conducted, which will mean that there are more positive tests. However, the positivity rates are not released by all local authorities and the PHE dataset does not include the number of tests.
The number of hospitalisations and the number of patients with coronavirus who have died has continued to fall. There were no hospital deaths for three days in a row at any Greater Manchester hospital over the weekend.