Covid in Leeds: are we in a better or worse situation than last Christmas?

The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly across the UK and the Prime Minister is said to be considering introducing tough new restrictions on socialising - a situation reminiscent of last Christmas.

By Georgina Morris
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 4:45 am

However, the country is in a very different position than it was last December.

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The vaccine rollout has had a huge impact on the number of deaths and hospitalisations, although cases are surging across the country, including in Leeds.

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The vaccine rollout has had a huge impact on the number of deaths and hospitalisations, although cases are surging across the country. Picture: PA/Danny Lawson

Based on analysis of UK Government data, we reveal how the pandemic has changed in our city over the last year.

The analysis covers the time period 13 December 2020 to 13 December 2021.

How many positive cases are there in Leeds?

Case rates are dramatically higher in Leeds than they were last December.

People queueing up to get their jabs at the mass vaccination centre at Elland Road in Leeds yesterday. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

Leeds recorded 682 new cases on December 13 this year - that's 464 per cent more than on the same day last year when 121 new cases were reported.

Case numbers are based on the number of new cases by specimen date.

How many more deaths have there been in Leeds?

The vaccine rollout has seen deaths plummet in the last year but thousands of deaths have still been recorded across the UK, including many in Leeds.

Leeds recorded a total of 902 deaths from the start of the pandemic in early 2020 to December 13 that year.

The number of total deaths had risen to 1,594 by the same date this year. It means 692 more people have died over that time period.

This is a 76.7 per cent rise in the total number of coronavirus deaths in Leeds.

The analysis is based on the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test by date of death.

The death rate per 100,000 people has dropped though.

Last year, 4.5 deaths were recorded per 100,000 people in Leeds, while the death rate is 0.6 this year.

Death rates are based on a seven day rolling average.

How many people are in hospital in Leeds?

Hospital cases have also changed across Leeds in the past year.

On December 14 last year, there were 167 people in hospital and nine people on mechanical ventilation beds at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. A year on, there were 60 hospital cases and seven people on mechanical ventilation beds.

This represents a 64.1 per cent drop in hospital cases and a 22 per cent drop in people on mechanical ventilation beds

There were no hospital cases last year at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, but there were four hospital cases there this year on December 14.

How are local hospitals responding?

Dr Phil Wood, Chief Medical Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “NHS staff in Leeds are continuing to go above and beyond, dealing with sustained high levels of Emergency Department attendances, delivering hundreds of vaccines every day, whilst continuing to look after seriously ill patients with Covid-19.

“With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 circulating we have plans in place to respond to an increase of patients in our hospitals whilst limiting the impact this may have on our planned operations.

“As our staff teams are once again stepping up to deal with what will be an incredibly challenging winter, the best thing you can do to help is to book in and get your Covid booster jab.”

And what's the message from Leeds City Council?

Coun Salma Arif, executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said: “I want to reassure people in Leeds that we have good measures in place for dealing with Covid-19 and these are working well.

“The council will continue to do everything it can to support the vaccine roll out. Vaccines continue to be our best line of defence as we now know that two doses of the vaccine are not enough against the Omicron variant. It is crucial that everyone in Leeds gets their Booster dose, and it is never too late to get your first dose.

“You can book online or visit a local walk-in centre to get your first or second dose of Covid-19 vaccination, or booster jab. These vaccines help to strengthen our protection.

“We urge everyone to follow the latest advice, including maintaining good hand hygiene, and wearing face coverings when required in enclosed spaces. It’s important to continue to be cautious: work from home where possible and avoid mixing with lots of people if you don’t have to.

“If you are socialising, take a lateral flow test before you go out. If you have symptoms, no matter how mild, isolate and get a PCR test immediately.

“We can all play our part and work together to keep Leeds safe.”

Visit www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/health/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine/walk-in-clinics/ for the latest details for walk-in vaccination clinics.

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