Latest updates on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oxfordshire for the week commencing 18 January. This is a rolling story and it will be updated with any significant developments.
4.30pm on 20 January
Up to 1 in 36 people infected with COVID-19 in England
Initial findings from Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI published today show COVID-19 infections increased by 50% from early December, with 1 in 63 people infected.
The interim findings from the eighth report of REACT, one of the country’s largest studies into COVID-19 infections in England shows the prevalence was highest in London, with 1 in 36 people infected – more than double the rate in early December.
To examine the levels of infection in the general population, over 142,900 volunteers were tested in England from 06 to 15 January. The study was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and carried out by scientists, clinicians and researchers at Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Ipsos MORI.
In response to the findings, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “These findings show why we must not let down our guard over the weeks to come. Infections across England are at very high levels and this will have a knock-on effect on the already significant pressures faced by our NHS and hospitals.
“It is absolutely paramount that everyone plays their part to bring down infections. This means staying at home and only going out where absolutely necessary, reducing contact with others and maintaining social distancing.”
In Oxfordshire, 254 people had at least one positive COVID-19 test result in the last day, according to government figures just released. This brings the total number of cases recorded in the county since the pandemic began to 27,279.
The current weekly rate of COVID-19 per 100,000 population in Oxfordshire as reported up to 16 January is 385. This is a reduction of more than 40% from the high of 656.4 reported on 04 January.
Sadly, 9 deaths were reported of people who had had a positive test result for COVID-19 and died within 28 days of the first positive test. This brings the total number of deaths by this measure to 541.
2.30pm on 20 January
Hopes that schools in England will reopen by Easter
The education secretary has said he would “certainly hope” schools in England could reopen before Easter. Gavin Williamson said he was “not able to exactly say” when pupils would go back but schools would be given two weeks’ notice before reopening. Primary and secondary schools remain closed to all, except for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.
Separately, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that it is “too early” to say whether England’s COVID restrictions will be able to end in the spring. Once the four priority groups have been vaccinated, by mid-February, “we’ll look then at how we’re doing,” he added.
5.00pm on 20 January
UK records new daily high of 1,820 deaths from COVID-19
A further 1,820 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test – the highest reported in a single day since the pandemic began. It brings the total number of deaths by that measure to 93,290.
The previous highest number of daily deaths reported was 1,610 on Tuesday, and the highest number of daily deaths in the first wave of the pandemic was 1,224 on 21 April.
There were a further 38,905 cases of people with at least one positive COVID-19 test result, and 3,887 more COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital.
In terms of vaccination for COVID-19, 4.6 million people have now received the first dose of a vaccine. This is an increase of 343,163 from yesterday – according to the latest government figures.
It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel said ministers were working to ensure police and other front-line workers were moved up the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine.
5.00pm on 18 January
COVID-19 vaccines rolled out to people aged 70 years and over
People aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable to begin receiving invitations for vaccinations from today.
Millions of people aged 70 and over and those clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 will be invited to get their vaccinations from today (Monday 18 January) as the NHS begins to roll out vaccines to the next 2 priority groups.
Vaccinating the first 2 priority cohorts – those aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff – will remain the priority. But vaccination sites with enough supply and capacity for vaccinating further people are allowed to offer vaccinations to the next 2 cohorts – those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable people.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today is a significant milestone in our vaccination programme as we open it up to millions more people who are most at risk from COVID-19.
“We are now delivering the vaccine at a rate of 140 jabs a minute and I want to thank everyone involved in this national effort.
“We have a long way to go and there will doubtless be challenges ahead – but by working together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.”
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