Rising or falling? Here's why there's been confusion about Doncaster's coronavirus rate

Doncaster’s director of public health announced last week that coronavirus rates in the town were dropping – only for reports to emerge a couple of hours later that infections were rising.

By Darren Burke
Monday, 8th February 2021, 3:27 pm

In his weekly update last Friday, Dr Rupert Suckling, announced that the town’s infection rate was 212.6 per 100,000 people for the period 23 to 29 January.

No sooner had he spoken, when reports started circulating that Doncaster had recorded a case rate of 224.4 cases per 100,000 – making it one of just 15 places in the country where cases were on the rise.

Understandably, the mixed messages caused some confusion with people questioning whether Doncaster’s rate was rising or falling.

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Dr Rupert Suckling.

Here’s an explanation of why there’s sometimes different data flying around.

A Doncaster Council spokesman said: "The data currently is very volatile and taking a seven day average figure one day can be different to a seven day average the following day.

"Dr Suckling filmed the update on Thursday and at that point the seven day average was down, the seven day average on Friday was slightly up – but again this isn’t black and white as the reason for it is an outbreak at one particular place that is being controlled and managed so it isn’t really a reflective insight of community transmission.

“We expect the seven day average to fall again towards the end of the week but the data is volatile. It really it is a snapshot of a moment in time.”

Dr Suckling, had announced that the town’s positivity rate was ‘the lowest it has been in months’ and that numbers were ‘continuing to fall.’

Fresh data from Public Health England revealed 15 towns with rising rates – with Doncaster slightly in the seven days up to Monday February 1.

Service manager Joe Gleek said: “Sometimes it might appear that the date reported locally is different to nationally published figures and it is not the case that one is wrong and one is right. It might simply be the case that the information or data quoted will potentially be calculated in a slightly different way.”

You can watch a video on how Doncaster compiles coronavirus data HERE