Director of Public Health Dr Henrietta Ewart has pushed the first of what will be weekly surveillance reports to provide a summary of indicators used to monitor Covid on the island.

The report has been compiled by the Public Health Intelligence team using data from Manx Care and the Civil Registry, and aims to increase public accessibility to data to help individuals, businesses and the wider community make informed decisions about their own behaviour.

Overview

The first report outlined that the island is currently experiencing a third wave of ‘widespread community infection’. With a fourth wave being predicted for the UK in autumn/winter 2021/22, it is expected to hit the island around the same time. 

We can also expect to see a rise in cases in September when the kids go back to school, the majority of whom are currently unvaccinated and have a similar infection/transmission rate as adults.

But the increase in cases we can expect to see in the autumn and winter can’t only be put down to the schools, as more of us meet indoors. We can also expect to see a return from old friends such as seasonal flu and RSV which will put further strain on the island’s health services.

Figures

  • Current seven day average for positive cases is around 75
  • Overall trend shows confirmed cases is decreasing
  • 65% of positive PCR results come from LFT pathway 

As outlined in the report, the highest number of cases over the last week was in 10-14 year-olds, followed closely by the 15-19 age group and 5-9 year olds. The next highest groups were 35-39 and 40-44 year olds, which given the likelihood that this age group will include parents of the younger cases, isn’t a major surprise. 

The report also includes a chart outlining the vaccine uptake in different age groups, the highest of which is the 50-54 and 55-59 year olds, the vast majority of which have had a second jab, with a few hundred yet to have theirs. 

The majority of people who were in hospital when the snapshot figure of 15 patients was recorded (on August 16) are double jabbed and showing symptoms (53.3%) compared with 33.3% unvaccinated. Amongst the vaccinated and unvaccinated the number of people in hospital without Covid symptoms makes up an even 6.7% each respectively. 

Director of Public Health

Dr Ewart said: ‘Council of Ministers have made a commitment to sharing appropriate information that will help the Manx public to make positive choices and consider their personal response to Covid-19. The first surveillance report demonstrates that the overall trend of confirmed cases is decreasing, but COVID-19 remains in our community. 

‘While the vaccination programme has substantially increased our collective defences, and is the most effective measure you can take to prevent potentially life threatening illness, Covid-19 is still a very real threat to our island. 

‘Vaccination, whilst effective, is not a silver bullet and we have seen cases in our hospital who have been fully vaccinated. This is to be somewhat expected given that such a large proportion of our island has now been fully vaccinated. Thankfully, the likelihood is that those people are very significantly less ill than they might otherwise have been. 

‘As we look ahead toward autumn, pressures on health and care are likely to increase and it is reasonable to expect a fourth wave, similar to the UK, here. None of this is said to alarm anyone, but being ‘safe, smart, and kind’ is all about making informed decisions based on the best available data. Right now, the data indicates that we do need to take collective action to protect ourselves and others.’

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