Greater Manchester entered Tier 3 of restrictions on 2nd December. Tier 3 signifies a very high alert level and has been applied to areas with ‘a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections’.
Government allocated areas to Tiers based on analysis of the following criteria:
1. Case detection rates in all groups in the 7 days from 13th to 19th November.
2. Case detection rates in the over 60s.
3. The rate at which cases are rising or falling.
4. Positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken).
5. Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.
This decision was made based on Greater Manchester’s high case rate. At the time, the R rate for Greater Manchester had been falling for two weeks and was below the rate for Greater London and England. Case detection rates have continued to fall closer to the threshold of Tier 2 areas (approximately 200 cases per 100,000).
Infection rates per 100,000 for England, the North West and Greater Manchester between 16th September and 25th November 2020
Figure 2. R rate (left axis) case numbers (right axis)
For the remaining, data for Greater Manchester shows:
- That the ages of those testing positive are typical of those across England – there is no indication of higher infection rates amongst the elderly than elsewhere.
- That the positivity rate is falling at a fast pace, drawing closer to the national average.
- That hospital admissions, occupied beds and death rates are now falling. Utilisation of GM HDU/ITU beds for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients on 24/11/20 was 76.3%.
In two weeks’, provided case rates continue to fall towards average rates and pressure on the NHS reduces, GM will have a good case for reallocation.