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Essex is less than a month away from the level of coronavirus infection currently seen in the worst hit places if action is not taken now, the director of public health in the county has warned.
Most starkly, if the county delays goes into tier two restrictions by just three weeks – on November 16 the estimated cases could peak at 12,000. That is 7,750 more than the peak of about 4,250 if the request to go into tier two on October 26 is accepted by the Government.
Data published on Tuesday, October 13 suggests that Covid-19 is increasing exponentially with a doubling of the virus every few days.
On October 1, Essex had 15 cases per 100,000 in Chelmsford. On Monday October 12 the city had 65 cases per 100,000. This means that the case rates have increased by four times in just 11 days – an exponential rate of increase which is being seen across most of Essex.
Mike Gogarty, Essex public health director, said that without intervention now, in as a few as three weeks Essex will be in the same situation as the worst-most affected areas of the North and North East are today.
The worst of the Essex districts are worse than Bradford Oldham, Salford Preston Manchester or Newcastle were four weeks ago.
He said: “There is no reason to assume that we won’t be in exactly the same position as these areas within three weeks if we don’t do something about it.”
Currently in Essex 62 acute beds are filled with Covid patients.
Since the beginning of September there have been 14 deaths.
In the past two weeks between September 29 to October 12 there have been six deaths in Basildon and Thurrock and one in Southend.
Epping Forest has an infection rate of 82 per 100,000, Brentwood has 84 per 100,000 and Chelmsford has a rate of about 65 per 100,000.
Dr Gogarty has continually pressed the argument that the sooner the population goes in to tighter restrictions the sooner Essex can get out.
He added: The very worst that will happen is Essex will spend two or three longer in high level than it would have otherwise have had to and the best thing is we will save lives and stop hospital admissions.”