This week's update is a few days late, but for good reason. I wanted to reflect on the fact that it is a year ago today we went into lockdown, and the world changed forever.
As we share a minutes silence today, there is as much need for hope as there is ongoing caution. It wasn’t long ago that we were recording 1000 deaths a day - that figure is now less than a hundred. 34,000 patients were being admitted to UK hospitals, that figure is now nearer 6000.
Our vaccination programme is truly world class. We beat our own daily record three times this week, administering 26 injections per second!
Despite some unevenness in our supply chain, and mystifying threats from the EU, we should hit our targets on time, something critics gleefully reported as impossible just a few weeks ago. It has been the finest example of a UK-wide effort involving the armed forces, the NHS, councils, volunteers and yes, even politicians from UK Government and the devolved administrations!
As this remarkable story unfolds so too can our hard-pressed economy stagger back to its feet. Slowly but surely – and safely – we can restore jobs, encourage our customers back again and resume a normal lifestyle over a period of time.
This is where the caution kicks in.
Despite welcome glimmers of sunlight, this is not over yet. Rates in continental Europe are spiralling, Paris is back in lockdown. The “South African Variant” is proving hard to tame and history tells us that what happens in Europe can happen here too. We need to be ready, and flexible.
If we can keep the vaccinations flowing, then with every arm jabbed a life is potentially saved. There will be set backs, and it is possible that there will be more resurgences of this disease before we finally declare victory.
On this day last year I recorded a short video asking for everyone’s support, patience and understanding as we entered unknown territory. The response was brilliant, often in adversity.
The same resolve is needed now, to nail down the covid nightmare once and for all.
- Pembrokeshire has 20.7 cases per 100,000 population, and a test positivity rate of 2.6%.
- Carmarthenshire has 31.3 cases per 100,000, and a test positivity rate of 3.3%.
In Hywel Dda as a whole there are 23.2 cases per 100,000 and Wales-wide the rate is at 43.7.
The Pembrokeshire case rate has increased from 12.7, but this partly because the numbers are low and so variations have a bigger effect.
Infection numbers are falling in over 60s which could be due to vaccinations.
The number of covid cases in our hospitals has stabilised at 56, (including 15 recuperating). 29 of these are in Glangwili and there are no current outbreaks in hospitals.
There are no cases in ICU. There have been 473 covid deaths in Hywel Dda so far.
160,481 first doses have been given which amounts to 41.4% of population (or 50.2% of over 18s).
All Group 9 (over 50s) invites will be sent by next Friday - for appointments from week commencing 12 April - and the Health Board will hit target of top 9 groups done by mid April.
In Phase 3 - i.e. Group 10 onwards (45 years plus) - the temporary slow down in supply of AZ will be mitigated by extra Pfizer or Moderna arriving. The Health Board still thinks it can reach the goal of all being offered first dose by mid July.
Surgery has re-started on all sites.