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Sign of hope as infection rates across Liverpool City Region fall slightly – Liverpool Echo

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Infection rates across every Liverpool City Region have fallen slightly, giving hope that huge numbers may start to come down after following the huge third wave surge.

Until recently, case rates across all boroughs have been climbing at alarming rates – with some boroughs experiencing a quadrupling of numbers in just one week following the relaxation of rules at Christmas.

The surge has seen the Liverpool City Region once again thrust to the top of the worst-hit table and we are already beginning to see increased pressure on local hospitals.

But the very latest data on testing gives a glimmer of hope – albeit one that must be taken with a lot of caution at this stage.

In the city of Liverpool, the infection rate has been growing each day – with jumps of more than 100 cases per 100,000 being experienced between days around a week ago.

This daily increase has been slowing down in recent days and for the first time in several weeks we actually saw a small decline in that number in the very latest figures.

The latest weekly infection rate for the city, which incorporates data up to January 9 gives an infection rate of 1043 cases per 100,000 residents.

This is a huge and deeply concerning number, but importantly it has fallen from the 1064 cases per 100,000 posted yesterday for data up to January 8.

This decrease is something that has also been experienced in every other Liverpool City Region borough – all of which have seen explosions in case rates in recent weeks.

Knowsley remains one of the worst hit boroughs in the entire country, with an infection rate of 1403 cases per 100,000 up to January 9.

However, that number has fallen slightly from the 1470 weekly rate covering cases in the borough up to January 8.

Another particularly badly hit borough is Halton, where the infection rate fell from 1316 cases per 100,000 to 1219 in the most recent update.

There were also small falls in Sefton (1119 to 1080), Wirral (982 to 940) and St Helens (868 to 823) in that same time period.

While it is important to see cases begin to fall after such alarming recent growth, these are very minor differences and we won’t know if this is a sustained trend for a number of days.

Another good sign however, concerns positivity ratings.

This is the total number of positive tests returned in a week as a percentage of all tests taken – and is considered a good measure of how much virus there is in a particular area.

In Liverpool, this number has been growing quickly, surging from 12.7% on December 29 to 22.2% on January 5.

This has now started to stabilise and the very latest data (up to January 7) shows it has fallen slightly to 21.5%, another potential sign that things are just starting to move in the right direction.

Knowsley’s positivity rate had grown even more quickly, rising from 12.4% on December 29 to just under 24% on January 5.

Like Liverpool this has stabilised and fallen slightly now to 23.5%.

The region’s infection rates and positivity numbers are still incredibly large and deeply concerning, but there is some hope that we are just starting to see the impact of the restrictions that came in after Christmas in terms of stopping that growth of the virus.

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Liverpool’s Director of Public Health Matt Ashton tweeted: “A small reduction in infection rate but rates remain very high, let’s keep up the good work #StayAtHome.

Sadly, we know from experience that this will not stop a large number of people being admitted to hospital and an inevitable increase in deaths in the coming weeks.

The local health service is already coming under significant pressure, with around 400 covid patients now admitted to the Liverpool University Hospitals Trust.

This is a little below the 550 that number reached in the Autumn peak but staff fear there is more to come as those huge infection rates continue to turn into admissions.