University cases fully included in weekly Oxford COVID-19 for the first time

Residents should not be alarmed by what appears to be a large rise in COVID-19 cases in Oxford.

Oxfordshire County Council publishes a weekly update on COVID-19 cases in the county and has recently been estimating what the figure within Oxford would look like if it included the student population. This week, there is no need to estimate as the government is providing data that means the statistics can be presented as one.

The national discrepancy relating students being recorded at their home address rather than their term-time address has been rectified. All cases are now recorded to their address at time of testing. This contributes to a small increase in the Oxford numbers.

In addition the local issue related to Oxford University students not being shown in local figures has been ironed out meaning they are now being fully included in the city’s statistics for the first time.

In the week up to the end of 6 November, a total of 253 people tested positive in the city for COVID. This represented 165.9 people per 100,000 of the population. Estimates as to the university figures lifted the total to approximately 398 or 261.1 people per 100,000 of the population.

This week’s consolidated figures (up to the end of 13 November) for Oxford are 406 cases at 266.3 people per 100,000 of the population.

Estimated figures for the whole of Oxfordshire were 1,100 positive tests or 159.1 people per 100,000 of the population. This week’s figures are 1,159 positive tests or 167.6 per 100,000 of the population.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “We are glad that the well-known discrepancy with the university statistics has finally been resolved. The media has been reporting the issue accurately and organisations around the county have all been aware. We have been presenting approximate figures to show how the statistics were likely to stand once the university figures were included. Thankfully we no longer have to do this and we now have a simple figure for Oxford that we can compare each week.

“Overall the figures have continued to rise generally as has been the case with the national statistics. This was not unexpected as the impact of the lockdown, which began on 5 November, will only be starting to filter through into the statistics in coming days and weeks.

“There has also been further good news on vaccines but at this stage this is all for the future and we urge everyone to fully abide by the rules so that we can drive down case numbers as we move from autumn into winter.”