The coronavirus situation in Hertfordshire is getting more critical as we get closer and closer to Christmas.
Cases are rising across the county with only two of the ten boroughs seeing a drop in the latest set of Public Health England data.
Next Wednesday, every area in England will be reviewed and either placed into a higher or lower tier or remain in the tier it is currently in.
The government will review every area based on the infection rate for the area, the number of cases in the area at the time, cases in the over 60s, pressure on the local NHS and will take place every two weeks.
Based off current data, it is not yet known which areas, if any, will go into Tier 3 but some areas have been hit worst than others.
Despite moving into Tier 3, from December 23 to 27, all tier guidelines don’t have to be followed in private homes, places of worship, or meeting in a public outdoor place.
This is because the government announced a dispensation period during this time which will allow people to see others in their Christmas bubble – three households only.
However moving to Tier 3 will mean restaurants in the area will have to shut, which is a critical time for these businesses and in some cases, where they make the most money.
Here’s a lowdown on the Herts areas which could move into Tier 3 come December 16:
With Christmas only days away, coronavirus cases in the borough of Broxbourne have surpassed a worrying milestone and are now the highest they have ever been.
The latest set of data from Public Health England shows how over 300 people tested positive for the virus in the borough in the week ending December 7.
This has taken the area’s infection rate to 327.9 – the highest it’s been since the outbreak and one of the highest in the county during the first and second wave.
The infection rate for the borough makes it the nineteenth most infected area in the whole country.
In the week ending November 30, cases in Broxbourne were still the highest in Hertfordshire but were dropping as 179 people tested positive.
But just a week later, 319 people tested positive – only 39 away from doubling.
If cases don’t rapidly drop soon and continue the way they are going, the area looks destined for Tier 3.
A spokesperson for Broxbourne Council said if cases continue to rise, the area is ‘likely’ to be put into Tier 3 which could jeopardise Christmas.
They said: “The case rate in our Borough is now the highest it’s ever been.
“If this continues, we’re likely to be put in Tier 3 and it could also jeopardise Christmas. To avoid this, we need to play our part and follow the guidance to the letter.”
Watford is next on the list as it is the second most infected borough in Herts.
The only positive for this is that the infection rate is behind Broxbourne by 87.7. But on the other hand, it is the only other borough which has an infection rate per 100,000 people above 200.
In the week ending December 7, the infection rate for the area was 240.2 after 232 people tested positive.
This was a significant rise compared to the week before which was 169.8 cases per 100,000 people when 164 people tested positive (week ending November 30).
If cases continue to rise in this manor, by next Wednesday, the area could be going into Tier 3.
But it also depends on the strain on the local NHS and the number of cases in the over 60s.
The situation in Hertsmere is also getting worse with cases rising by 35 in a week.
In the area, 190 people tested positive in the week ending December 7 which, when compared to the week ending November 30, was a rise.
The infection rate during this period has also rose from 147.7 to 181.1.
Moving to Tier 3 would be devastating for the area and it’s impact would be hard on both the public and the hospitality settings.
Although the rise isn’t significant, it does need to stop as it is not yet known how strict the government will be in the next review.
When the PM announced the new tier system recently, the government put all but three areas in Tiers 2 and 3.
Like the other areas, Dacorum, which is home to Hemel Hempstead and Tring, has also seen a sharp rise in the past week.
A total of 241 people tested positive for the virus in the week ending December 7 – a rise of nearly 100 on the previous week.
The infection rate during this week is now at 155.7. Whereas the week before, it was below 100 at 99.5.
This shows a clear rise in cases in the local area which if continues like the way it is, could see the area move into the higher Tier.
The last borough which has seen a similar rise to Dacorum is Three Rivers where cases in a week have increased by 48.
The infection rate has also subsequently gone up too from 102.9 to 154.3. The area is the fifth most infected area in the county.
This is the only other area which has seen a rise in cases above 40 apart from the areas that are more infected in Herts.
East Hertfordshire and Stevenage both saw a drop in cases in the last week and the other two boroughs, St Albans and Welwyn Hatfield are not as high as the other boroughs.