‘Steep increase’ in Covid cases expected to be reported in Wales today
The latest figures from Public Health Wales are expected to show a “steep increase” in positive Covid cases when they are published today.
The number of new infections has been rising in recent weeks in Wales and today’s figures – which will include two days worth of data – will show a further sharp rise according to Dr Giri Shankar, Professional Lead for Health Protection at Public Health Wales.
Dr Shanker expects a figure of around 12,000 new cases to be reported for a 48 hour period but that does not include data from Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
Speaking to BBC Radio Wales this morning, he said: “We are expecting a further increase in the number of new cases, but it’s not totally unexpected.”
“We will be publishing data for two days worth of cases and that will show a steep increase in those numbers.”
Dr Shanker said the number of new infections in Wales per day was stable at around “2,500 to 3000 until a few weeks ago.”
Cases began to go up to between 3000 and 3500 a day just before Christmas.
He said: “I think today’s figures will reveal that will be close to 6000 cases per day. So we’ll be reporting about 12,000 cases for a 48 hour period.” He said.
Case numbers being published today “will be cut off about four days before the actual publication date to account for any lag.”
Dr Shanker said that testing patterns over the Christmas and New Year period are quite “variable and fluctuating” and only in the first week of the new year will the data reflect a “true sense” of what the Covid situation is in Wales.
He said Wales is now “fast catching up” with England in terms of the spread of Omicron, “the all Wales [omicron] incidence rate is now over 900 having gone up from about 500 just a week or 10 days ago, so that’s a steep increase.” He said.
“The percentage of tests that are coming back positive have also gone up from about 17% to 25%.”
“We do have certain age groups here in Wales, particularly the 20 to 29-year-olds, where the percentage positivity is nearly 50% – one in two tests coming back positive.” Dr Shanker said.
In terms of Covid related hospitalisations, he said figures up to December 21 show “we had 433 hospital inpatients with about 45 new admissions from the day before.”
“These are just confirmed cases, if you add the probable cases and recovering cases that number is will be much higher.”
“We do expect that there will be an increase in hospital admissions.”
“It pretty much depends how much mixing would have happened during the last few days and also over the coming few days, that will determine what level of additional pressure will be on the NHS in the new year.” Dr Shanker added.
New measures came into force in Wales on Boxing Day to try and slow the spread of the omicron variant.
The Welsh Government said the revised ‘alert level 2’ measures were designed to help keep businesses open and protect customers and staff.
The measures include the closure of all nightclubs, a maximum of six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, restaurants and cinemas.
Up to 30 people will be allowed at indoor events, while at outdoor events the limit is 50 and social distancing of two metres is required in public places and offices.
Yesterday UK health secretary Sajid Javid ruled out implementing any further restrictions in England before the new year.
Javid said the UK government would reassess whether more measures were needed in England in the new year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ministers would continue to monitor the data and urged people to get their “first, second or booster jab without delay.”
More than one-and-a-half million people have now had a booster in Wales.
British Medical Association chairman in Wales Dr David Bailey said the booster jab was key to avoiding more lockdowns.
Dr Bailey told the BBC: “I hope that with the protection from the three vaccines that many people had – certainly in the early part of next year – we won’t be needing to do the same sort of precautionary things that we’re doing at the moment in terms of lockdowns, in terms of social distancing, masks all that sort of thing.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com