Public Heath England are reporting a rise in the number of positive COVID tests for Kent and Medway, as children return to school. There has been concerns that there will be a significant rise in infections as children mingle at school and begin to use public transport again.
As of 7th September there have been two cases of positive tests within Kent schools since children returned after the summer holidays, with one being a staff member at Strood Academy.
PHE has confirmed further coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Kent, bringing the total to 8546 in Kent and 1133 in Medway (as of 2nd Sept 2020). This equates to a rate per 100,000 of population – 540.4 for Kent and 406.7 for Medway. The Public Health England figures are issued on a daily basis and are based on a national, regional and upper tier authority level.
Kent County Council’s Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “The public should be reassured that the levels of testing across Kent have also been ramped up and we would expect to see a rise in the number of cumulative confirmed cases. We have increased our testing capacity so that we are able to identify and confirm cases in our community and support the NHS Test and Trace programme. We appeal to residents to follow the guidance should they be contacted by NHS trace. This will all help us control the spread of the virus.”
It has been noted that many children are reporting a lack of social distancing in schools. Although face masks are worn in some situations, children are still in close proximity to each other when moving between classrooms.
if the trend continues, november could see the peak of a second wave
Parents have also noticed that there is no distancing when children are leaving school. Face masks are enforced on public transport but there is a lack of masks when children are queueing at bus stops.
There is concern amongst officials that COVID rates will rise when universities return. They are expecting thousands of 18-24 year olds to return and make the most of ‘freshers week’ – the traditional time when they go out to bars and enjoy parties. If social distacnign measures are not followed, it could lead to a big spike in virus rates in some of our biggest cities and towns.
PHE data may be subject to delays in case confirmation and reporting, as well as ongoing data cleaning. Location is based on case residential postcode. This could mean that any such spikes will not be reported for many days, leading to further spread.