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Covid confusion and a fall in the number of people taking tests could be behind decline in case rates

05 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Covid testing sign. Photo by Nation.Cymru

Liam Randall, local democracy reporter

Confusion between the symptoms of Covid-19 and conditions such as hay fever could be behind a drop in cases in Flintshire.

The current infection rate in the county stands at just over 162 cases per 100,000 of the population, based on the seven days up to July 31.

Although the level of new confirmed coronavirus cases in Flintshire is still among the highest in Wales, the situation has improved in recent weeks.

However, the chief executive of Flintshire Council has cautioned that the reduction could be due to people mistaking symptoms of the virus for summer allergies or a cold.

Some symptoms of the coronavirus which have been reported anecdotally can overlap with other conditions, including a runny nose, sore throat and a headache.

But health professionals have advised the main indicators of Covid are a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of smell or taste.

The reduction in cases in the area also follows the number of people coming forward to be tested dropping by around a third in the last month.

Providing an update to councillors at a meeting held today, Colin Everett said: “Quite a lot of this is about people feeling more confident as they’ve been vaccinated, it’s the summer and people want to return to their new normal lives.

“If you actually look at our test figures in Flintshire, only three weeks ago it was just under 3,000 a week being tested with people volunteering.

“In the last week, it’s only just over 2,000 so it’s about a third down.

“The more people who test, the more positives that we’ll get and the less people that test, the less known cases.”

He added: “If people have very few symptoms, they might not even think it’s Covid and that it’s hay fever, it’s a summer cold, or they’re asymptomatic and show nothing.

“I’m not in any way being negative but the truth is that figures look better than they are because less people are being tested.”

Mr Everett said the positivity rate for people tested in Flintshire currently stood at around 13 per cent, which he said was still high compared to other areas in Wales.

Increasing pressure

He described the health system in north Wales as being under “increasing pressure” because of some services being paused earlier in the pandemic.

Mr Everett, who is due to leave his post in November, added he was hopeful the situation would continue to improve.

He said: “north Wales is the odd one out in Wales and the figures are generally high because of our interconnection with north west England.

“The next few months ago are going to be like this and I think we’ll be seeing the present number of cases, but it will become more and more manageable in the way that we are.”

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Lyn
Lyn
1 month ago

“But health professionals have advised the main indicators of Covid are a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of smell or taste.” The UCL Zoe study, which tests people with all sorts of symptoms, suggests this is thoroughly out of date. People referred by the study for testing who have unwell symptoms but none of the three “main indicators” are quite likely to test positive. Since the Delta variant took over most study participants testing positive have different symptoms from the old top three. Had they just gone to the government testing system of their own accord they would… Read more »

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