Epping has most cases of coronavirus in Essex

The number of Covid-19 cases in Epping is twice that of the next most seriously hit district in Essex, though they are not high enough to signal an outbreak.

As of Sunday, August 9, the total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Essex was 5,766, a rate of 387.2 cases per 100,000 people.

There have been a total of 1,399 coronavirus-related deaths registered in Essex up to the week ending July 31.

There have been 502 cases in Epping Forest altogether – corresponding to 381.2 per 100,000 people.

That figure is below the overall case figure for Essex, but is worse than Colchester, Brentwood, Castle point, Rochford, Braintrree and Maldon.

But it is in Epping that the virus is now most prevalent.

In the past seven days there have been 13 cases recorded – equivalent to 9.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Chelmsford has had nine cases in the past seven days – equivalent to five cases per 100,000 people.

Worryingly, an illegal rave attended by approximately 500 people in neighbouring Waltham Forest came amid the spike in cases in Epping Forest.

Under current government guidelines, a maximum of 30 people can attend gatherings to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been around a month since delayed figures showed the level of deaths in care homes in Epping Forest being among the highest in the country.

The death rate between the week ending on April 10 and the week ending on April 24 was running about three times higher than even the second most hard hit area of Essex during the height of the epidemic.

During that time Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificates of 58 people who died in care homes in the district.

It means that in Epping Forest, with an estimated total population of 132,000, 43 people per 100,000 of the total population died in care homes, with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate. Just 11 other districts in the country saw higher death rates.

A spokesperson for Essex County Council, said: “The number of Covid-19 cases across Essex is currently low which means that any slight fluctuation in numbers in certain districts can make one area stand out when compared with others.

“We are currently working in partnership with district council environmental health teams across the county to use their local knowledge to investigate and address any potential sites of concern. The current numbers in Epping are not enough to signal an outbreak.

“Across all districts in Essex, we also continue to contact trace anyone notified to us to look for any common links that might highlight particular sights of transmission, such as businesses and workplaces. Following this ongoing action we would expect to see the number of cases decrease in Epping Forest over the coming weeks.

“We are however, planning in case there is an outbreak of Covid-19 infections somewhere in Essex so we are ready to act immediately.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter