Three areas of Teesside in England’s top 20 for highest covid-19 infection rate

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The number of people catching covid-19 on Teesside continues to grow, with three areas among the 20 worst infection rates in England.Hartlepool’s rate is currently the second highest in the country, at 576.5 cases per 100,000 population.

It is behind only Kingston upon Hull – where the local NHS has called for schools to close – while rates at Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough are also in the top 20.

Public health officials are using the seven-day infection rate in a borough to most accurately assess how quickly the virus has taken hold in a community.

This is done by looking at the number of new coronavirus cases recorded over a seven-day period, then standardizing it by looking at the size of the population in each area.

It may seem confusing to some people that other boroughs have a higher number of new cases, but have lower rates.

This is why the rate is calculated per 100,000 inhabitants – which gives a standardized figure for small and large populations.

Using this measure, Redcar and Cleveland have England’s 13th highest rate – which is 482.7, through November 14.

Middlesbrough is 17th, out of 461.8, while Stockton is 23rd with a rating of 434.8.

England is currently halfway through a four-week nationwide lockdown, which has closed ‘non-essential’ pubs and restaurants, gyms and shops.

It was imposed after science advisers warned the government that the NHS could be inundated with new cases if tougher measures are not taken.

But while schools and many stores remain open, many Teessiders say it almost sounds like business as usual – and case rates continue to skyrocket.

Reports in the national press on Tuesday suggest Prime Minister Boris Johnson may plan for tougher regional measures when the country exits the lockdown on December 2, to further reduce case rates enough to temporarily ease Christmas restrictions.

At least one council expects level three restrictions in December, Middlesbrough Council chief executive Tony Parkinson telling councilors the authority is already preparing.

Middlesbrough, as well as Hartlepool, have been under local lockdown for more than six weeks now, while ‘level two’ restrictions were also imposed on Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland on October 14.

As Teesside Live reported on Sunday, a leading public health expert from the Independent Sage group warned that local lockdowns would never be enough to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, without a system of testing, tracing, isolation and support functioning properly.

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