Was the G7 a “Super-spreeding” event? – Cornwall is now UK Covid hot spot

First from the BBC Local News:

Cornwall needs ‘triple effort’ to combat Covid-19 spike

Dr Ruth Goldstein, from Cornwall Council’s public health department, said the majority of cases were the Delta variant and warned that the numbers were expected to rise.

“It is not a situation that Cornwall has found itself in in the last 18 months,” she said.

Dr Goldstein said public health officials had started to see a rise around 10 days ago among people aged 16 to 25, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

“Initially it started around the Penryn campus [of the University of Exeter],” she said.

“That combined with the half-term break, where we have people from Cornwall going up country to see family and friends and we had visitors coming to Cornwall.”

Dr Goldstein added that Cornwall had a higher number of restaurants and bars per person compared to other parts of the country, which could also be contributing.

A number of hospitality venues have had to close in places such as St Ives, Falmouth and Newquay in recent days due to staff self-isolating.

Dr Goldstein said venues were being responsible by testing staff and isolating them where necessary….

…”We know we will have a lot of people coming into Cornwall, which we want and is fantastic for our businesses,” she said.

“But this situation we are in now, we all have to triple our efforts if we are going to stop this rise in cases.”

(When does Simon Jupp intend to start his pub crawl? – Owl)

G7 towns are centre of Cornwall’s spike in Covid cases

Aaron Greenaway www.cornwalllive.com

The latest UK Government coronavirus data reveals that areas of Cornwall which played host to the G7 Summit and students are primarily driving the large increase in cases.

The areas of Falmouth, where G7 media were based, and Penryn, home to Cornwall’s university campus, in addition to St Ives and Carbis Bay, which hosted the gathering of world leaders, are together registering more than half – 53 per cent – of cases in Cornwall for the seven days ending June 12. This was the middle day of the three-day summit.

Falmouth and St Ives were also the focus of protest groups, with thousands of people taking to the streets.

It comes amid a spike of the Delta variant – first identified in India – of the coronavirus across the UK, which led to Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing a delay in the final release of lockdown restrictions until at least July 19.

The largest outbreak in Cornwall is currently in the Ponsanooth, Mabe Burnthouse and Constantine area, home to the Penryn Campus shared by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, with 57 cases, followed by Falmouth North with 38 cases, Falmouth East with 37 cases, Penryn with 16 cases as well as Falmouth West and South which has 10 cases.

The coronavirus case map for mid and West Cornwall, which represents the majority of Cornwall's coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus case map for mid and West Cornwall, which represents the majority of Cornwall’s coronavirus outbreak (Image: UK Government)

In St Ives and Carbis Bay, home to the G7 summit, there were 44 cases reported in St Ives and Halsetown and 19 cases in Towednack, Lelant and Carbis Bay.

There were 411 cases reported in Cornwall for the seven days to June 12, with the totals for the above-listed areas representing 53 per cent of the total.

A heatmap on the coronavirus dashboard which provides a breakdown for cases per 100,000 for different age groups also reveals that the age group with the largest number of infections covers those aged between 20 and 24 years old, with 461.5 cases per 100,000 people, closely followed by 15 to 19-year-olds with 267.5 cases per 100,000 people.

It represents two age groups which are yet to be mass vaccinated against the disease and comes as the Government has announced that all those over 18 can now book their vaccinations.

In comparison, older age groups which represent those more vulnerable to death and serious illness from the coronavirus and who are mostly vaccinated, are currently reporting significantly fewer cases, which, in turn, has led to a less noticeable impact on Cornwall’s hospitals.

Ruth Goldstein, from Cornwall Council’s public health department recently revealed that the spike seen in coronavirus cases started with an outbreak at the Penryn campus of the University. She said: “Initially it started around the Penryn campus (of the university) and it was easy to understand how that happened as this was the area in Cornwall where we have the highest density of young people.

“That combined with the half-term break, where we have people from Cornwall going upcountry to see family and friends and we had visitors coming to Cornwall.

Government heat map of coronavirus cases in Cornwall by age group (darker colour represents more cases)

Government heat map of coronavirus cases in Cornwall by age group (darker colour represents more cases) (Image: UK Government)

“All these things combined have led to this increase in positive cases.”

Cornwall Council’s public health team has also called on people working in the hospitality industry, which also predominantly features younger people, to ensure they take their twice-weekly coronavirus tests to keep themselves and others safe.

Director of public health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Rachel Wigglesworth, explained that while Cornwall’s case rate is still below the national average, it has risen sharply and now is “the time to act and bring the rate back down”.

She said: “We’re asking anyone working in the hospitality industry to help themselves stay safe and protect their work colleagues by testing twice weekly using rapid lateral flow tests.

“While our case rate is still below the national average it has risen sharply.

“Now is the time to act to bring the rate back down. I would urge everyone to make twice-weekly testing part of their routine so we can identify cases even when people have no symptoms. Rapid Lateral Flow Tests are free of charge and can be picked up from your local pharmacy or ordered online.”

(Online article contains more detailed data)