R rate hits 1 across region but infection rate still falling


The R rate is above 0.9 for the first time since mid-January (Photo: Terry Harris)

The R value - or reproduction number - of coronavirus transmission across the East of England has risen to between 0.7 and 1.0. Last week, it was estimated to be between 0.6 and 0.9.

This is above the range for the UK, which is thought to be between 0.7 and 0.9.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.

An R number between 0.7 and 1.0 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between seven and ten other people.

The last time the R rate was estimated to be above 0.9 was in the seven days to January 15.

The estimates for R and the growth rate are provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

The growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, is between minus five and zero for the East of England region.

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The R value was expected to rise slightly as restrictions were eased on March 8, with most children returning to classrooms and individuals allowed to meet with one other person outdoors.

The most recent case rate for Peterborough is 123.6 per 100,000 people, based on 250 positive Covid-19 cases returned in the seven days to March 21. The week prior, it was 131.0, with 265 new cases.

Peterborough still has the highest infection rate of all the local authorities in Cambridgeshire, but has dropped below the top 10 for all local authorities in England.

Across Cambridgeshire the rates are:

  • Fenland - 110.9 per 100,000 (113 cases), down from 117.8 (120 cases)
  • Huntingdonshire - 59.0 per 100,000 (105 cases), up from 57.9 (103 cases)
  • East Cambridgeshire - 41.2 per 100,000 (37 cases), up from 24.5 (22 cases)
  • Cambridge - 32.9 per 100,000 (41 cases), down from 36.9 (46 cases)
  • South Cambridgeshire - 24.5 per 100,000 (39 cases), down from 43.4 (69 cases)

In South Kesteven, where Stamford is situated, the case rate is 89.2. This has risen from 76.5, which was the infection rate for the seven days to March 14. 

In South Holland, where Crowland lies, the rate is 137.9 per 100,000. This is up from 120.0.