Where to start, on what’s been a pretty whacky few days. How about we go to UK level and work our way down to the ‘Shire.

Each of the home nations are pursuing very different approaches, so it’s very important that we help our citizens understand what applies here. The Prime Minister’s ‘Tiers’ announced on Monday DO NOT apply to Monmouthshire. We are following the ongoing conversation keenly between the First Minister and Prime Minister, about people from high infection areas in England being able to travel to low infection areas in Wales.

We remain on an elevator upwards as a nation. When Public Health Wales release their daily dashboard at 2pm this afternoon (14/10) it will show that Wales has registered 3,846 cases in the last seven days, against 3,094 for the previous seven days. It will show an all Wales rate per 100,000 of the population of 122 over the last seven days, an increase from 98.1 for the previous seven days and a positivity rate (the % of people who have been tested that were positive) of 8.8%; an increase of 1.9% on the previous seven days.

In Gwent, we have seen 479 cases in the last seven days, a rate per 100,000 of 80.6 and a positivity rate of 6.8%. All three measures are up on the previous seven days, but tracking below the all Wales averages which is good.

In Monmouthshire, we have seen 41 cases in the last seven days, a rate per 100,000 of 43.3 and a positivity rate of 4.6%. Again all three measures are up on the previous seven days, but we sit significantly below the all Wales averages. We remain one of a small handful of areas that is not subject to a local lockdown. We have no active clusters of cases and no widespread community transmission. There is no evidence here of pubs or the wider hospitality industry being sources of infection. Our reality is much more about transmission within families (parent to child, partner to partner, child to parent), people picking up the infection while working outside the county, students who are actually away registering Monmouthshire as a home address (so artificially inflating our numbers), health care workers picking it up in work and Monmouthshire residents who are in hospital becoming infected in the hospital setting.

How do I know the detail of the story? Because our colleagues who make up our local Test, Track and protect Team are all over it – they are amazing! It is undeniable that we will continue to see more cases, because everywhere around us has higher rates than us. We have a very different geography than Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire because we sit at the centre of South East Wales / South West England and we have millions of people passing through and living their lives within a 20-30 mile radius.

We also know that in Monmouthshire the population group with the highest number of COVID+ cases is in the 50-59 age group. This is different to other parts of Gwent, where there is a younger demographic. We know that age is one of the markers for having a harder time with COVID, so certainly one to watch. Whatever age you are it can only help if your fitness levels are good and your diet is balanced. Never forget that there is so much you can do to help yourself with modest, but consistent lifestyle changes.

  • What am I expecting in the next week?
  • The figures will continue to go in the wrong direction.
  • I am expecting hospitalisations to increase

I think it’s likely that we will see Wales Government reconsider some of the lockdown arrangements. There doesn’t seem to be very much compelling evidence that the current arrangements are getting to grips with new cases and we know that there tends to be a two week lag between increased cases and increased hospital admissions and in the worst cases another 10-14 days until some people die. My instinct is that something else needs to happen…

Please continue to be role models, Keep Wales safe:

  • always observe social distancing
  • wash your hands regularly
  • if you meet another household, outside your extended household, stay outdoors
  • work from home if you can

Stay at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

If you have symptoms get a test.