A HEALTH expert has warned that Brighton and Hove “will be at risk of moving to tier two” if the current upward trend in coronavirus cases continues.
The comments were made by director of public health Alistair Hill after a sharp spike in the number of reported virus cases in the city over the weekend.
A move to tier two, “high risk”, would mean people in Brighton and Hove were prohibited from socialising with anybody not in their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.
The city is currently in tier one, medium risk, under which the rule of six and enforced closure of hospitality venues at 10pm must be followed.
These would remain in place in tier two.
Public Health England figures for the week leading up to October 21 (the most recent data available) show there were 367 cases confirmed in Brighton and Hove during this seven-day period.
As a result, Brighton and Hove City Council recorded the city’s weekly coronavirus rate as 126.2 confirmed cases per 100,000 population.
In the seven days leading up to October 17 there were 244 new coronavirus cases recorded in the city, with a weekly coronavirus rate of 83.9 per 100,000 people.
The Evening Standard has previously described the 100 weekly cases per 100,000 population mark as a “key threshold” in deciding which areas are placed into tier two of the government’s coronavirus alert system.
But Mr Hill explained that infection rate was not the only factor used to determine an area’s Covid alert level.
Mr Hill said: “In common with many areas in the South East, Brighton and Hove saw a high number of new cases reported over the weekend.
“A number of indicators inform the local alert level for an area, including the overall Covid-19 infection rate.
“We remain in tier one (medium alert), but if the trend continues upwards in this way we will be at risk of moving to tier two.
“The decision to escalate an area to tier two (high alert level) would be made by central government following consultation with the council.”
Mr Hill said that the majority of confirmed cases were among young people aged between 15 and 24 years old.
There have now been 525 cases of coronavirus confirmed within the communities of the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex since studies resumed at the sites in late September.
“But, we are seeing more cases among older working adults,” Mr Hill said.
To stop the current upward trend in the number of coronavirus cases in Brighton and Hove, the director of public health reiterated government advice.
He said: “Everyone must continue to do everything they can to stop the spread of Covid in our city.
“Please think Hands-Face-Space. We’re asking everyone to limit how many people they see in a day, maintain social distancing and keep to the rule of six.
“Wear a face-covering if there is a risk you can’t maintain two metres distance in busy places like streets, queues and bus stops – not just when required to do so.
“Please self-isolate at the first sign of symptoms and get tested.”