THERE was some hope that Essex could leave the national lockdown in Tier 1 restrictions. 

But that, it turns out, is only for places which have truly supressed the virus, such as the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The good news is, Essex County Council has made no secret of its desire to drop a tier at the first opportunity - December 16. 

To do that, the county will have to show a demonstratable drop in cases in all age groups, but particularly in the over-60s.

The pressure on hospitals across the country will also be taken into account. 

Turning to the first key metric, there has not been a discernible drop in cases in Essex since late July/early August. In fact it has continued to rise since. 


However, the county has been successful in keeping cases relatively low in the over-70 bracket (green, below) however cases in the 50-69 bracket (purple) is only beginning to level out. 

The health secretary would have to see the purple line start to fall significantly.


On the second metric, this chart (below) shows the number of hospital beds that are occupied by Covid-19 patients in Essex as of 8am on the 24 November.


As at 24 November there were 248 beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients in Essex hospital trusts.

This equates to 8.7 per cent of trust capacity and is 1.6 per cent higher compared to bed occupancy one week previous (17 November).

It could be said that the number of patients has begun to steady. 

Hospital admissions, diagnosis and occupancy are expected to lag behind community cases by a period of four to eight weeks so this picture, on December 16, will depend on what the case rate is, roughly, today.