Coronavirus York updates: 20th October 2021

In view of the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases in the City, I have written to ask the Council Leader to make a statement on the situation at tomorrows Council meeting. I have asked him to cover the following questions

  1. The number and percentage of eligible residents who have so far taken the opportunity to get booster jabs
  2. Arising out of 1, how the Council plans to stimulate the take up of booster jabs
  3. The number and percentage of eligible children (12 -15) who have been offered vaccinations (the governments deadline for completion of this programme is Friday). It would be useful for parents to have this information broken down by individual schools
  4. Confirmation that 12-15 year olds will be able to use “walk in” facilities like Askham Bar to get their jabs over the half term holiday period together with the arrangements that have been made to facilitate this option.

The information being made available to students, parents and residents more generally about these programmes has been inadequate. Secondary schools, at least, should update their web sites/social media channels each day to indicate how many jabs have been given and how many pupils are currently isolating having had a positive PCR test.

Hospital patients and deaths

No additional hospital deaths have been announced today

Test results

150 positive test results have been announced today. That is the highest single day figure for over 4 months. They bring the total up to 23,959

The number of cases in the City has risen by 21 to 683

The infection rate /100k population has increased to 323.68. It is continuing to rise. but remains below the regional and national averages

At this time last year, after an initial surge in case numbers at the beginning of the month, infection rates were beginning to reduce. There is no sign of such a reduction taking place this year.

Vaccinations

Tests

  • 9130 PCR test were conducted during the week ending 14th October 2021
  • Of these, 7.3% were positive. This compares to a positivity rate of 7.1% found during the previous week
  • In addition, 2038 “lateral flow” tests were conducted on 19th October 2021

Neighbourhoods

Car parks in central York must be improved

On 18th November the York Council’s executive will be asked to “approve the strategic reviews and the recommendations to deliver the outcomes relating to city centre access and council car parking; and to decide whether to proceed with the paused procurement of a contractor to build the new St George’s Field multi-storey car park based on the outcomes of the parking review”.

The plan to close Castle car park will come at an awkward time for the Council.

Contrary to the expectations of some, visitors to the City have opted to use private vehicles for their trips.

Public transport use has fallen in the wake of the pandemic with fears about infections clearly a continuing influence.

Footfall in the City centre is comparable to pre pandemic levels. That is good news for some traders.and also for the Council which has seen its income from car parking charges soar.

But it does mean that many car parks are full for extended periods of time. The Councils survey will confirm this and cast doubts on whether now is the right time to grass over the Castle Car park and spend £14 million on a multi storey replacement.

A survey today revealed very high usage levels at municiple car parks near the city centre.. Some some like Castle, Bootham Road, the Esplanade were full.

Others were at 90% capacity with only disabled spaces – and those reserved for vehicle charging – unused. (We were not in a positive to check whether the vehicle charging units were in working order)

Large areas of the coach parks at St Georges Field and Union Terrace were also unused. This suggests that some sort of flexible boundary should be provided to allow for additional car parking when the coach park is unused.,

The only car park with a large number of empty spaces was that at the railway station. This was largely empty during the pandemic. It was around 50% of capacity today.

All in all, an awkward return to reality is in prospect for the York Council.

Safety audit of The Groves road closure available

The Council has published on their web site, a stage 3 safety audit covering The Groves road closure project.

click to download

The safety audit is disappointing at least in so far as it does not assess some of the most hazardous maneuvers that the current scheme encourages.

These include unsegregated contra flow cycle lanes on roads like Markham Street where the space between two lines of parked cars is narrow.

The Councils final” survey on the scheme is still ongoing

Coronavirus York updates: 19th October 2021

Hospitals and deaths

Three more deaths have been reported today. One occurred on Friday, one on Sunday and one yesterday. They bring the cumulative toll up to 668.

The number of COVID hospital patients has also risen

Test results

104 positive test results have been announced today. They bring the cumulative total up to 23,809.

The number of cases in the City has risen by 18 to 662.

The rate /100k population has increased to 313.73. It is forecast to rise to at least 330 before the end of the week.

Vaccinations

648 vaccinations were completed yesterday. 267 were first doses suggesting that the 12-15 jab programme is finally underway (and being reported).

click to access

Tests

Figures have not been updated today

Public health leaders recommend additional covid measures for York school pupils

Public Health and Children’s Services leaders in York have written to parents and carers of school-age children, asking them to adopt additional measures to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the city.

The move follows a significant rise in the number of children and young people testing positive for COVID in the last few weeks, together with an increase in household transmission of the virus. Local data shows that children are passing covid to family members and into local communities and this is leading to rising infection rates in adults, particularly older adults, who tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of both COVID and flu.

Parents are being asked to carry out daily lateral flow tests on their school-age children (primary and secondary school students) when they have been identified as a ‘close contact’ of someone who has covid, or they live in the same household as someone who has the virus. Where possible, parents should ensure their child takes a daily lateral flow test while waiting for their PCR test result.  Provided the lateral flow test is negative they can return to school.

The updated guidance is temporary and will be reviewed every two weeks, taking into account the rate of infection in schools and the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds. 

Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, the council’s Executive Member Children, Young People and Education, said:

I know that parents, carers, teaching staff and young people in York have been working incredibly hard to minimise the spread of covid and I’d like to thank them their continued efforts.

“We also recognise the impact covid has had, and continues to have, on the lives of children, which is why we have committed to review this new advice after half term. I would urge parents, carers and children to support the new guidance as we continue to work together to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health, City of York Council, said: “We have been working closely with schools and colleges in York since the pandemic started, and their tireless efforts have played a huge role in minimising covid rates in York. But with infection rates rising, it is vital that we recommend families take additional action now, before cases rise further. We will continue to work with partners to assess the impact of the additional measures, before re-assessing whether they are needed in two weeks’ time.”

For more information on how to get a lateral flow test in York visit  www.york.gov.uk/SymptomFreeCOVIDTest. To find out more about how to get a PCR test, visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Neighbourhoods

Badger Hill parking fiasco could prompt protest at University

It appears that some residents living in the Tranby Avenue area are reaching the end of their patience.

Parking by University staff and students has been clogging up streets like Tranby Avenue for the last three weeks.

The vehicles were displaced from Badger Hill when Respark signs were erected.

Poor signage on Badger Hill makes the ResPark restrictions unenforceable.

It turns out that the Respark zone is currently unenforceable as the signage deployed is inadequate. However, that is not widely understood, so neighbouring streets have become congested with displaced vehicles. .

The local bus service has been adversely affected by poorly parked cars as have pubic service vehicles like bin lorries.

Some residents have asked the police to intervene

Other residents are understood to be considering taking a convoy of vehicles to Heslington Hall in an attempt to persuade the University to ease restrictions on the use of its internal car parks.

Many of the these car parks are half empty.

Tranby Avenue

One local Councillor Mark Waters, who represents the Osbaldwick side of Hull Road, is determinedly campaigning for changes to local travel policies.

Sadly other Councillors and officials seem to have no idea how to deal with the consequences of the ill judged parking ban.

Council says “Final consultation is beginning on The Groves’ low traffic trial”

The Council is doing another public opinion survey on the impact of The Groves road closures.

However, no figures have been published which give an indication of the impact that closing routes through the Groves has had over the last 2 years. The trial has been dogged by delays and many of the original problems with the scheme have still to be resolved.

No safety audit was conducted before the trial began. Nor has one been published since.

Befiore and after traffic level figures on routes in and around the area were promised but nothing has emerged.

It remains unclear what the effect on emission levels has been on alternative routes although traffic has been back to its busiest for over 3 months now.

No instruments for measuring pollution levels were deployed either within The Groves or on the immediate alternative network.

Updated accident data has also not been published. The last published figures (see below) showed very low levels of accidents/collisions in The Groves itself with most problems occurring on the route onto which more traffic has now been diverted. ..

The impact on emergency services, deliveries, shops and schools remains unknown.

A Council media release reads, “A third and final consultation on The Groves’ low traffic trial will open on 22 October, and participants’ input is welcomed and will be added to a final report on the experiment.

The low traffic neighbourhood was temporarily put in place in response to local residents’ requests for better air quality, less traffic and the chance to build on the existing community spirit. Since early September 2020 when the trial began, it has been used by a wide variety of people and has been continually technically assessed.

Feedback on the trial is still being collated and now, one year on, views and experiences of the trial are being requested again to help complete the evaluation.

The findings from this survey will be reviewed alongside traffic survey data collated during the trial and other feedback received. This information will be used to prepare a report which will include a recommendation on the future of trial, which will be presented to senior councillors who will make a decision on it.

Local residents, businesses, schools, community groups and all road users are being invited to please consider the trial’s impact in more detail, and share their thoughts on it at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TheGrovesLTN/ (or through the trial page at www.york.gov.uk/TheGroves).

The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete and will run from 22 October until 14 November 2021″.

“It is crucial that the measures work for all residents, businesses and community organisations in the area. We’ve been engaging closely with residents and businesses and continue to do so with this latest consultation. Please do take part in the consultation at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TheGrovesLTN.”

Anyone who needs access to a computer to complete the survey can book to use one at any Explore library. Staff will be on hand to help give access to the survey online.

As an alternative to completing the questionnaire online, views on the trial can be emailed to thegrovestrial@york.gov.uk or can be posted to The Groves Trial, Network Management, City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York YO1 6GA.

For more detail on the trial, visit www.york.gov.uk/TheGroves.

Coronavirus York updates: 18th October 2021

Hospitals and deaths

Three more hospital deaths have been announced. They all occurred last Thursday and bring the cumulative total up to 665.

Test results

93 positive test results have been announced today. They bring the cumulative total up to 23,705.

The number of cases in the City has increased by 24 to 644.

The infection rate /100k population has risen to 305.2. It is the first time that the 300 rate threshold has been exceeded since 24th August 2021. The rate is forecast to rise further during the rest of the week

Vaccinations

No updated vaccination information at City of York level is currently being published by the government. It is therefore unclear how many booster or first dose jabs for 12 – 15 year olds have been administered.

Regional data

Age group vaccination data

Tests

  • 9179 PCR tests were conducted during the week ending 12th October 2021
  • Of these, 6.7% were positive. This compares to a positivity rate of 6.5% found during the previous week.
  • In addition, 2617 “lateral flow” tests were conducted on 17th October 2021

Neighbourhoods