What it’s like to live in part of city with most virus cases

People living in the area of Nottingham worst hit by Covid-19 have shared their thoughts and feelings on the figures.

The third and most recent weekly surveillance report from Nottingham City Council shows how the pandemic has affected different areas of the city.

The figures date from February 21 to July 26 and now show there have been 632 coronavirus cases from pillar one testing – a hospital setting.

In pillar two, which is from home testing or within the community, from the same period, there have been 571 cases.

In the most recent data, from July 20 to July 26, there have been seven confirmed cases in pillar 2, which is the lowest it has been since the pandemic began.

The area most affected from February to now is Beechdale with 52 cases, followed closely by Clifton North with 49.

The Beechdale area used in the figures also covers parts of Bilborough.

Director of Public Health for Nottingham, Alison Challenger, previously said there was no definitive reason yet why some areas were so much higher than others but on speculation, Beechdale and Clifton could have an older population and more care homes.

Rich Atkinson is a vicar and team leader of Woven Church which is a group of churches in the Bilborough, Strelley, Aspley and Basford areas of Notttingham.

Knowing residents of the Beechdale and Bilborough communities through congregations and more recently through virtual gatherings, Reverend Atkinson shared his thoughts on what the figures meant for the area.

“What we have noticed is that people did start to do things differently as lockdown lifted but also there was a lot of fear,” he said.

“People are still nervous to come back to church services and many will have known someone who contracted Covid-19 or who sadly died from it.

“A member of our church passed away and it certainly has made people nervous.

“People are trying to deal with fear while trying to return to a sense of normality.

“I think perhaps reactions were slow at the beginning of lockdown – I actually think people are being much more careful now.”

Speaking about the demographic for the area he added: “There are a lot of families in the area and we do see people of all ages, but there is also a high proportion of older generations.

“These areas are also not the most wealthy, which may have been harder to deal with during lockdown and, for the older generations, without access or understanding of the internet, it has been harder to stay connected.

“I know our church community has taken it very seriously but it’s hard to say across the whole area.”

Responding to whether a mobile testing site would help, Rev Atkinson added: “People here are very localised, not many have cars and certainly may not feel safe on public transport.

“So they probably don’t feel like they can easily go and get a test, so yes, I think testing here would be a benefit.”

Map of Beechdale MSOA which has been the hardest hit for coronavirus cases in Nottingham. (Image: Office for National Statistics)

David Steward-Tye, 55, has lived in the Beechdale area for the past four years and is currently chairman of the Beechdale Community Association.

He explained he is still waiting to hear from the city council whether the centre can reopen as it provides a hub for residents with a variety of sessions available.

“We have been trying to keep in touch with people locally despite being closed,” he said.

“I do know of a few people who have had it and I was aware of the figures being high.

“It is a concern – but it’s hard to understand why.

“There are quite a lot of care homes in the area and a lot of accommodation is tailored towards the elderly who are more vulnerable.”

Asked whether the guidance had been an issue for residents, he said: “Wherever I travel [in Nottingham] I see people not following the guidance that has been recommended, it happens all over, and I don’t think it’s any worse here.

“There are no massive shopping areas, it is mostly residential.

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“And most of the people I see are those that are isolating and trying to keep away, but asking for help with essentials.

“Some are only just starting to come out of isolation and I think it has shocked them to see all the changes and then many are still too scared to go out.”

The figures provide only so much information, and while it may help to prevent outbreaks going forward, there are still many unanswered questions.

“I think the data is important but many are blinkered and may not want to know,” Mr Steward-Tye added.

“I think if we could find out figures that are more up to date, to give us an idea of the situation now, that would definitely help.

“Also the nearest testing site is in Bulwell I think, or the Boots site.

“We could do with one more locally as many older people don’t want to travel far.”


Nottinghamshire Live – Local News