The number of weekly Covid-19 cases in Derbyshire has now fallen 70 per cent from the January peak, six weeks ago.
This has brought case levels down to where they were when Derbyshire emerged from the nation’s second lockdown at the start of December.
In the week to February 19, Derbyshire recorded 1,583 new Covid cases, down from a peak of 5,161.
When the county last saw that level of weekly cases, it came out of lockdown only to be plunged into Tier 3 restrictions – then the highest restrictions available.
Weeks later the county was put into a newly introduced Tier 4, followed by a third national lockdown.
In Derby, the number of weekly cases has now reduced by nearly 75 per cent from its January peak, falling from 1,745 weekly cases to 446, as of February 19.
Derbyshire is now seeing fewer than 250 cases per day, down from a high of more than 900.
While these reductions are welcomed, health chiefs would like to see the level of infections fall much further.
Case numbers in the region of 50 per week are where they would like things to get to before test, track and trace operations are manageable and efficient enough to quash outbreaks and prevent wide scale spread of the virus.
Case levels would need to fall by a further nearly 97 per cent for this to be achieved, showing the scale of what still faces us, despite significant reductions in cases.
Schools across the country are now set to reopen from March 8.
There are still more Covid cases per week than the county saw in the entire of month of September (1,297 cases) when schools reopened after the first lockdown and a summer largely free of virus outbreaks.
What followed schools reopening was a litany of temporary closures with many year groups, largely at secondaries, spending weeks at home due to outbreaks. October then saw a huge increase in cases.
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, hopes that rapid lateral flow tests, made in Derby, which produce a result in 10 minutes, will make the difference this time and allow schools to open safely and stay open.
Today, he said: “Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education and wellbeing.
“Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.”
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