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COVID-19 situation report summary

Key points to note 

Wales is at Alert Level 3.

Overall transmission of COVID-19 is generally decreasing and relatively low. The consensus estimate of the reproduction number for Wales is between 0.7 and 1.0. Source: SPI-M/SAGE, 4 May 2021.

COVID-19 cases are generally decreasing across most of Wales. The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 has also decreased slightly. Source: PHW

Overall COVID-19 hospital admissions and COVID-19 related deaths remain at a relatively low level. These numbers are now comparable to those observed in mid- September 2020. Source: NHS Wales Operational data

VUI-21APR-02 (B.1.617.2) was escalated to a variant of concern on 6 May 2021 (VOC-21APR-02). It is assessed as having an increased growth rate compared to the dominant variant B.1.1.7, although this may not be wholly caused by a change in biological transmissibility. There are insufficient data currently to assess the potential for immune escape. There has been a steep recent increase in the number of cases identified of this variant of concern in the UK, which includes both imported and domestically-acquired cases. Postcodes of residence are most frequently identified as London and the North West.

On vaccination, as at the week ending 9 May 2021, a total of 2.78 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Wales. Of the 2.78 million doses given nationally, 1.93 million were first doses and 0.85 million were second doses. Current coverage will not offer population level protection in the absence of other protective behaviours. Source: PHW

Key indicators 

Most key indicators continue to decrease, following a period of high transmission in December and January. 
Please note that the arrows represent a change in comparison for the last week
 

  Current value (08/05/21) Change since previous week (01/05/21 – 08/05/21 unless stated otherwise) Change since reported figures for previous Alert Level review (17/04/21 – 01/05/21)
    Percentage change Value change Percentage change Value change
Confirmed case rate (rolling 7 day sum per 100k) 9 -10% (-1)    -40% (-6)
Confirmed case rate for over 60s (rolling 7 day sum per 100k) 7 -11% (-1) -38% (-5)
Test positivity (7 day RA) 0.90% -13%   (-0.1 percentage points) -44% (-0.7 percentage points)
Population estimated to have COVID-19 (prevalence)1 0.02% -60% -     (-0.03 percentage points) -82% (-0.09 percentage points)
Reproduction number (Rt)2 0.7 to 1.0 -4% (-0.04) -5% (-0.05)
NHS capacity – Admissions3 6 17% - (+1) -9% - (-1)
ONS deaths (7 day sum)4 2 -80% (-8) -85% (-11)
PHW deaths (7 day sum) 6 100% - (+3) -25% - (-2)
  1. Latest Covid Infection Survey data is taken from 2 May 2021 to 8 May 2021.
  2. Latest Rt value is as at 4 May 2021. Changes shown in table are based on the central estimate of Rt. 
  3. Seven day rolling average to the current date of confirmed COVID-19 patients – does not include COVID-19 suspected or recovering.    
  4. Latest ONS deaths data is to 30 April 2021 (rather than 08 May 2021) for the current value. Data to 23 April 2021 is used for the change since previous week and data to 9 April 2021 is used for the change since last Alert Level review.    

What is the current status of the epidemic?

Cases per 100,000 population (7 day period ending 07 May 2021)
Local Authority Number % of All Wales Total Case Incidence per 100,000 Incidence threshold reached Change from previous week
Newport 44 15.60% 28.4 25 to < 50 -2% ↓
Cardiff 55 19.50% 15 Under 15 10% ↑
Wrexham 18 6.40% 13.2 Under 15 -25% ↓
Pembrokeshire 16 5.70% 12.7 Under 15 23% ↑
Powys 15 5.30% 11.3 Under 15 275% ↑
Carmarthenshire 21 7.40% 11.1 Under 15 91% ↑
Ceredigion 6 2.10% 8.3 Under 15 200% ↑
Gwynedd 9 3.20% 7.2 Under 15 -36% ↓
Rhondda Cynon Taf 16 5.70% 6.6 Under 15 -20% ↓
Merthyr Tydfil 4 1.40% 6.6 Under 15 -33% ↓
Caerphilly 12 4.30% 6.6 Under 15 -50% ↓
Monmouthshire 6 2.10% 6.3 Under 15 20% ↑
Neath Port Talbot 9 3.20% 6.3 Under 15 -31% ↓
Flintshire 9 3.20% 5.8 Under 15 -25% ↓
Torfaen 5 1.80% 5.3 Under 15 -50% ↓
Swansea 13 4.60% 5.3 Under 15 -59% ↓
Denbighshire 5 1.80% 5.2 Under 15 400% ↑
Isle of Anglesey 3 1.10% 4.3 Under 15 0% →
Conwy 5 1.80% 4.3 Under 15 -17% ↓
Vale of Glamorgan 5 1.80% 3.7 Under 15 -38% ↓
Bridgend 4 1.40% 2.7 Under 15 -56% ↓
Blaenau Gwent 1 0.40% 1.4 Under 15 -50% ↓
Unknown 1 0.40% -   -67% ↓
Total 282 100.00% 8.9 Under 15 -11% ↓

At a Wales level, on 7 May, the 7-day rolling incidence of COVID-19 cases and the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 have decreased slightly since last week. 

The SAGE/ SPI-M consensus estimate of Reproduction number (Rt) is 0.7 - 1.0 (as at 4 May 2021). When we look at reproduction numbers using PHW positive test data only - a more timely estimate but limited by variation in testing – we see a reproduction number estimate of 0.91 for Wales. At local health board level, there is considerable variation in the reproduction number (cases only) estimate. The central estimate of the reproduction number (cases only) is above 1 for the Cardiff & Vale, Hywel Dda and Powys Health Boards.

7-day cumulative case incidence is decreasing across most of Wales.  At a Wales level, cases per 100,000 is currently at 8.9 per 100,000 population. This is a slight decrease compared to the previous report (9.9 per 100,000 population). 

Incidence varies by local authority and age. Newport is the only local authority with a case incidence rate above the threshold of 25 cases per 100,000. However, the case incidence for Newport has decreased over the past week. 

The table below also provides estimates of doubling and halving times based on COVID-19 positive test data. In this table, halving times are positive, whilst doubling times are negative. The 95% confidence intervals are showing in brackets after the central estimate. An asterisk (*) means that there are small numbers and estimates should be treated with caution. Local health board level estimates of Rt and halving times will be unstable when incidence is low. 
 

Reproduction number (based on positive tests only) PHW data by Local Health Board as at 12 May 2021
Local Health Board Rt (cases) Halving time (days) 
All Wales 0.91​ (0.8 to 1.0)​ 3106​ (15 to -16) DOUBLING​
Swansea Bay UHB 0.5 ​(0.4 to 0.7)​ 7.6​ (4 to -39)​
CTM UHB 0.75​ (0.5 to 1.0)​ 316​ (7 to –8)​ DOUBLING​
Aneurin Bevan UHB 0.9​ (0.7 to 1.0)​ 86​  (10 to –14) ​
Cardiff & Vale UHB 1.1 ​(0.9 to 1.4)​ 24​ (6 to -11) DOUBLING​
Hywel Dda UHB* 1.4 ​(1.1 to 1.8)​ 15 ​(7 to –49) DOUBLING ​
Powys THB* 1.1 ​(0.7 to 1.5)​ 7​ (4 to 76) DOUBLING ​
Betsi Cadwaladr UHB 0.8 ​(0.7 to 1.0)​ 48​ (11 to –21)​

Cases per 100k (PHW Data) (7 day rolling sum) 

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Cases per 100k 7 day rolling sum (PHW data)

 

Cases per 100k by age (PHW Data) (7 day rolling sum) 

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Cases per 100k by age

Data as at 12:00PM 12 May 2021 unless otherwise specified

What is the situation with the NHS and social care?

COVID-19 pressure on the NHS continues to improve and is back to the levels seen in mid-September last year. As at 12 May 2021 there were 168 COVID-19 related patients (Suspected, Confirmed and Recovering) occupying a hospital bed. Confirmed cases constitute 22 of the total, the lowest number since 13 September 2020 when there were 16. 

COVID-19 patients in critical care beds is currently at three, this is 161 lower than the maximum COVID-19 position of approximately 164. Confirmed cases constitute two of the total, the lowest number since 11 May 2021 when there were also two. The total number of patients in critical care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 stands at 175, 23 more than the historic maximum critical care capacity of approximately 152.

The graph highlights care homes data, which is reported to Incident Management Teams on a weekly basis. Those noted as red status have reported an outbreak or incident in the last five days. 

Up to 6 May 2021, 5 (0.5%) adult care homes in Wales notified CIW of one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19, in staff or residents, in the past 7 days. This has remained unchanged from the 7 days up to the 29 April 2021. The number of notifications is now at the lowest since the beginning of the reporting period on 16 December 2020.

Confirmed hospital occupancy (7 day rolling average)

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Confirmed hospital occupancy (7 day average)

 

Overall invasive ventilated bed occupancy (7 day rolling average)

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Overall invasive ventilated bed occupancy (7 day rolling average)

Invasive ventilated bed occupancy for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 positive patients (7 day rolling average)

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Invasive ventilated bed occupancy for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 positive patients (7 day rolling average)

Hospital bed occupancy for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 positive patients (7 day rolling average)

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Hospital bed occupancy for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients (7 day rolling average)

Number of adult care homes reported an ongoing outbreak/incident (last 7 days)

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Number of adult care homes reported an ongoing outbreak/incident (last 7 days)

 

What is the situation with education, children and young adults?

Childcare settings

The latest National SBAR covering the week of 03 May to 09 May reported no new or ongoing clusters in childcare settings.

Schools

At the time of writing for the National SBAR to 09 May, 2 new clusters and 17 ongoing clusters were reported to be associated with schools. There were 4 incidents attributed to a school setting and 14 attributed to household, social or extra-curricular activities (figures do not include data from Conwy or Ceredigion). At least one IMT has reported non-compliance with self-isolation rules in pupils identified as contacts, including playing with those in and outside their bubble, going on holiday, having sleepovers and having visits from non-household contacts. As a result individuals have later become positive cases. Local messaging strategies are being considered. Confirmed case incidence remained stable in those aged under 20 years old in the most recent week ending 09 May. Source: National SBAR.

IMTs continue to report that infection observed in pupils and staff are commonly the result of community and social interactions outside the school setting, with the acknowledgement that the incidence associated with schools reflects wider community transmission.  

Weekly COVID-19 incidence per 100,000 population for school age children and young adults in Wales (data as at 12/05/21)

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Weekly COVID-19 incidence per 100,000 population for school age children in Wales (data as at 1pm 7/4/21)

 

Schools with more than one COVID-19 case identified within the last 21 days, excluding 63 schools with 1 COVID-19 case

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Schools with more than one COVID-19 case identified within the last 21 days excluding 63 schools with one COVID-19 case

 

Epidemiological curve of cases in all staff and pupils linked to a school between 01 September 2020 to 10 May for all Wales maintained schools

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Daily school cases and daily cases for same time period

 

School Attendance

An average of 90% of all pupils were present in school over the week of 04 May to 07 May. This information is provisional and will be revised on 19 May. 

Pupils present by day in Wales, from 7 September 2020

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Pupils present by day in Wales, from 7 September 2020

HEIs in Wales have, since January, prioritised a return to in person blended learning for those students with practical and qualification requirement where in person learning is necessary. University facilities, such as libraries, laboratories and study spaces, have been open for those who need access. 

From 12 April HEIs have fully opened for blended learning with all students invited to access online and in person learning. HEIs report cases notified to them by students and staff. From 1 February 2021 most HEIs have changed the way in which they report data, with positive cases referring only to students or staff attending campus or returning to the local area for study (with the exception of University of Wales Trinity St David's who are unable to split cases on this basis). Over the past week, the 7-day rolling average has been less than 3 positive COVID-19 cases for all HEI's. Source: Stats Wales

There is currently Voluntary LFD testing of childcare staff, school staff, Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) staff; FE and HE students, and older secondary school aged pupils. Detailed information on LFD test outcomes is not yet available.

7 day rolling average of positive cases in Welsh universities 27 September to 9 May 2021

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7 day rolling average of positive cases in Welsh universities 27 September 2020 to 9 May 2021

Please note: Due to accuracy and timeliness limitations with the capability of our surveillance systems, distinguishing exact case associations between children over 19, school staff and/or family members is currently not possible. We are looking to develop this with local health protection officers.

What does the situation look like going forward?

Based on the current rates observed with current restrictions:

  • Cases – the probability of incidence greater that 100 per 100,000 remains low for all local authorities. The figure illustrates the probability (between 0 to 100%) of incidence being greater than 100 per 100,000. Source: Imperial College London

Probability of greater than 100 per 100,000 cases by local authority, Wales

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Probability of greater than 100 per 100,000 cases by local authority
  • Deaths per day - continue to see small numbers over the next four weeks. Source: Modelled medium term projections, SAGE, 11 May
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Number of deaths per day, Wales

 

  • Hospitalisations per day - continue to decrease to under 1 per day over the next four weeks. Source: Modelled medium term projections, SAGE, 11 May

Hospitalisations per day, Wales

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These projections are based on current trends and will not fully reflect the impact of policy or behavioural changes over the past two to three weeks. They are not forecasts or predictions.

Projecting forwards is difficult when numbers fall to very low levels, therefore SPI-M-O have decided to pause producing medium term projections where this is the case. The small numbers can also introduce apparent inconsistency as regions are aggregated.

Mobility data, adherence and UK comparison

The most recent mobility data shows a growth following the initial sharp increase seen after the easing of restrictions in several areas relating to travel and re-opening of non-essential retail on 12 April, with some categories showing little change.  Source: Google

Mobility data by location of trip

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Mobility data by location of trip

Source: Google

Adherence

New IPSOS MORI data for the period 23 – 27 April for Wales shows reductions in some categories since the previous survey wave 4 weeks ago, most notably a large reduction in those making essential trips only. Social-distancing and wearing of face coverings remains steady. Note this is self-reported adherence and will be affected by individuals understanding of the rules and guidance. Source: IPSOS MORI

UK comparison

The percentage of people testing positive appears to have decreased slightly in Wales in the most recent two weeks, with the rate similar to levels seen last summer.

For the week ending 8 May, it is estimated that an average of 700 people in Wales had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 100 to 1,900), equating to around 1 in 4,230 people. This compares to around 1 in 1,340 people in England, around 1 in 1,250 people in Scotland, and around 1 in 1,430 people in Northern Ireland.

Positivity rates (%) across UK countries since 28 March 2021

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Positivity rates (%) across UK countries since 28 March 2021

Source: Office for National Statistics COVID-19 Infection Survey

Key risks and sources

Key risks

Transmissions, incidence and prevalence

Overall transmission is generally decreasing and relatively low.

NHS Capacity

Overall COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to fall. Some fluctuations are likely to occur, due to low numbers. 

Mortality

Remains at a generally low level.

Variants

Early indication of spread of VOC21APR-02 (India variant) in England. Risk of increased transmissibility to B.1.1.7 (Kent variant) and uncertain potential for immune escape. 

Immunity and vaccines

2.78 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were given in Wales. Of the 2.78 million doses given nationally, 1.93 million were first doses and 0.85 million were second doses.

Key sources for this update

Technical Advisory Cell brief

COVID infection survey results

Public Health Wales

Hospital occupancy

Higher Education

School attendance

Public Health England VoC Technical Briefing

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