Revealed: The true number of coronavirus cases in York

The coronavirus testing station at Poppleton Park&Ride. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
30 Jun 2020 @ 6.17 pm
| News

We can today reveal the full number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in York.

Since Public Health England began publishing the numbers of cases of Covid-19 per local authority, we have been reporting those numbers for York every day.

That figure today stands at 463 – a total that has stayed static all week.

However it only includes data from Pillar 1 testing. Pillar 1 is swab testing in Public Health England labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers.

Pillar 2 tests

Parliament Street in York. Photograph: YorkMix

Pillar 2 testing is swab testing for the wider population, carried out by commercial organisations. This will include the results from, for example, the testing station at Poppleton Bar Park & Ride.

Pillar 2 test results are included in the UK-wide figures published daily. But they are not, as yet, included in the data for local authorities, it has emerged.

But today (Tuesday, 30 June) YorkMix has secured the full figures.

York has…

  • 463 confirmed Covid-19 cases through the Pillar 1 testing programme
  • 424 confirmed Covid-19 cases through the pillar 2 testing programme, as at 27 June
  • giving a total of 887 cases.

City of York Council says it hopes to release the full data including positive Pillar 2 tests more regularly – but needs clarification first from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Relatively low numbers

The Poppleton testing station

As we reported earlier, some national media outlets were reporting York was one of 36 cities with ‘spiking’ coronavirus cases.

But City of York Council’s director of public health Sharon Stoltz that even with the addition of pillar 2 figures “the numbers are low – an increase in just nine new cases across both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 over the last seven days”.

Ms Stoltz said: “It is unclear where these figures in the national media reported for York came from. I can reassure residents and businesses in York that the city currently has relatively low numbers of cases of Covid-19 and a local lockdown is certainly not necessary.

“Current figures show that York has an infection rate of rate of 421.6 per 100,000 of population.

“To put this into context, the rate across England is 425.8 and closer to home, Yorkshire & Humber’s infection rate is 519.6. Furthermore, as we produce seven day rolling averages there is no evidence to suggest that cases are increasing in York.

“I will be making a public presentation to the next Outbreak Control Advisory Board on how we use data and to reassure residents and businesses that we are doing everything we can locally to control the virus.

“This data reflects the commitment of our residents to staying alert, controlling the virus and following guidelines to wash hands regularly, wear face coverings where social distancing is difficult and staying home if they present symptoms.

“Our collective effort is not over, and we must continue to be vigilant as our city further reopens, to ensure that we can do this as safely as possible.”