What is the current situation in the Caerphilly County Borough?
The situation in our county borough, region and nationally remains precarious. We have seen an increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases over recent weeks and our current level is 95.5 cases per 100,000 population. This compares to two weeks ago when we were at a much lower level of 50.3 cases per 100,000. We have prepared a ‘heat map’ to help clearly show the spread of cases across the county borough.
Why are the numbers rising?
The spread of a virus such as Covid-19 is complex and based on many different variables. The R number in Wales is estimated to be at around 1.37. We have seen a number of distinct ‘clusters’ in certain parts of the county borough (eg Aber Valley), but most of the cases are down to spread within the community.
The only way we can tackle the virus is to follow the advice (hands, face and space) and adhere to the restrictions that are in place to protect our whole community. The map shows the spread of the virus is across most of the county borough, so a hyper-local lockdown approach is not an appropriate response at this time. There have been around 127 cases in the county borough over the past 7 days and this map shows the distribution of cases across the area.
Where is our ‘Exit Strategy’
Two weeks ago, when our figures were looking positive, we started to have discussions with Welsh Government to consider our next steps in terms of an ‘exit strategy’.
These discussions are ongoing, but the deteriorating picture locally and nationally, in terms of our rising infection rates means that, unfortunately, we are unable to proceed with the phased lifting of our restrictions as quickly as we were hoping to.
Our exit strategy consists of a number of variables, all of which need to be finely balanced. One of the main requirements of our strategy, is that we must be able to demonstrate a consistent pattern of reduction in the number of cases over a period of time. Clearly, we are not able to meet this requirement at this time. Any plans we make to relax local restrictions must also be considered against the regional and national picture.
As you would have seen in recent media reports, the numbers of cases is increasing nationally and the First Minister only yesterday announced that “we were at an important tipping point” across Wales. Please be assured, that as soon as the conditions allow, we will provide further information about our plans, but hopefully you can appreciate that now is not the right time.
What happens next?
We will continue to review the position with Welsh Government and other key public health agencies on a weekly basis. Our next review is due on Thursday of this week and we will provide details about the outcome of the review in our usual update from the Leader and the Chief Executive. In the meantime, we must all continue to think about our own actions and the impact that they have upon the safety of ourselves and others.