The fact Covid-19 has been spreading across Salisbury and the surrounding areas is well known to us all – how though, is a different a matter.
A map on the government’s coronavirus dashboard illustrates how coronavirus cases have been rising, and occasionally falling, week by week since the beginning of the pandemic.
Based on Public Health England data, the interactive tool breaks down infections by small areas with an average population of 7,200, which are referred to as Middle Super Output Areas (MSOAs).
For each MSOA, the map shows the number of cases recorded in the latest weekly period, the case rate per 100,000 and whether cases have gone up or down compared to the previous week.
Areas shown in light green have the lowest rates (between 11 and 50), green is used for areas with rates between 51 and 100 while blue areas have rates above 101 but below 200.
Dark blue and purple are the colours used to represent MSOAs with the highest rates of new cases (above 200 and above 400) but no areas in Salisbury have so far seen case rates soar to that extent.
To understand how coronavirus has been affecting Salisbury and the nearby towns and villages in the past few weeks, here’s a breakdown of the local Covid-19 spread since the start of last month.
The week to October 3
Between September and October case rates for most MSOAs in our area were “suppressed”.
This means that in this particular week, most places in Salisbury reported fewer than three infections and for this reason, the number of positive cases isn’t specified “to protect individuals’ identities”.
The week to October 10
Places such as Amesbury and Larkhill, Shrewton & Bulford Camp begin to report higher case rates and are therefore highlighted in shades of green.
Stratford’s case rate surpasses 101 but data for the majority of MSOAs in Salisbury remains suppressed.
The week to October 17
The spread of coronavirus is becoming more evident, with a number of MSOAs that had previously reported fewer than three cases, now seeing small increases.
Bishopsdown’s case rate is above 101.
The week to October 24
More areas see case rates rise between 50 and 100, including: Amesbury; Laverstock, Bodenham & Coombe Bissett; Stratford; Wilton, Nadder & Ebble.
Case rates in MSOAs on the Hampshire border rise above 100 as do the rates for Larkhill, Shrewton & Bulford Camp, Salisbury Cathedral & Harnham and Salisbury Town North & Milford.
The week to October 31
The overall picture looks better than the previous week.
More MSOAs report fewer than three cases while Laverstock, Bodenham & Coombe Bissett see case rates fall below 50.
The week to November 7
Good news for some areas and bad news for others.
In Wilton, Nadder & Ebble and in Stratford rates of new cases are now above 100. But in Larkhill, Shrewton & Bulford Camp rates have fallen below 50.
In Laverstock, Bodenham & Coombe Bissett, Downton & Morgan’s Vale and Whaddon, Whiteparish & Winterslow numbers have gone up, though the increase is small.
The week to November 14
This is arguably the weekly period showing the biggest increase.
While a number of MSOAs in Salisbury have reported no rise compared to the week before, the vast majority of places surrounding the city and the town of Amesbury have rates above 101.
The week to November 21
Due to the usual data lag, this is the latest weekly period available.
More places have seen case rates fall below 100 and are therefore shown in dark green. The worst affected areas are: East Harnham; Churchfields; Great Wishford, Woodford Valley & Porton; Larkhill, Shrewton & Bulford Camp; and MSOAs near the Hampshire border.
Overall, what does this say about the local spread of Covid?
Case rates have been fluctuating but have never risen above 200.
Wiltshire Council has said more than once that cases are risen evenly and no hotspots have been identified.
By looking at this map and how it’s changed, we can certainly say that has so far been the case for Salisbury and the surrounding villages.
The latest weekly period is an improvement on the one before and if the second lockdown has had an impact that we’re just starting to see, it is likely that numbers will drop further.