Potential coronavirus hotspots can now be identified in Hertfordshire using a new online tool.

The tool, developed by Oxford University’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, builds on the government's test and trace programme by highlighting areas most likely to suffer disproportionate Covid-19 hospitalisation rates.

It analyses data, such as how many residents are vulnerable to Covid-19, using factors such as age, social deprivation, population density, ethnicity and hospital capacity.

The dashboard features a map down to a ward level showing the risk of hospitalisation per 1,000 people based on age and hospital capacity. 

Areas that are red are where the risk of hospitalisation is highest, with more than nine people per 1,000 needing care if there was an infection spike. 

Hertfordshire overall has a rate of 7.5 per 1,000 people, which is average for the UK and broadly in line with neighbouring counties.

But looking at the data on a ward level, four areas in Watford are in the red, including the Cassiobury Ward, which has an infection rate of 9.2 per 1,000 people.

The Tudor Estate and a small area of the Stanborough ward also seem to be a hotspot, both of which have an infection rate higher than nine and are in the red.

Rounton in Nascot wood is also in the red, which is showing a rate of 9.3.

Watford Observer:

Meanwhile in Three Rivers, multiple areas in the district are in the red with a higher infection rate than nine.

These include the Batchworth, Loudwater, Sarratt, Bucks Hill, Croxley North, Carpenders Park, and Abbots Langley wards.

Heronsgate and Chorleywood are also in the red, but both show a slightly lower hospitalisation rate than nine.

Watford Observer:

And in Hertsmere, areas around Connaught Park, Bushey Heath and Radlett are areas in red, with a hospitalization rate higher than nine.

Watford Observer:

Professor Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, said: “With additional outbreaks and second waves, thinking not only regionally, but at much smaller scale at the neighbourhood level will be the most effective approach to stifle and contain outbreaks, particularly when a lack of track and trace is in place.”

Mark Verhagen, lead author of the study, said: “By using our online tool, policymakers would immediately have identified Harrow as a potential hotspot of hospital demand.

"Ensuring that local decision-makers have this type of fine-grained information available was a key goal of this study.”

The Leverhulm Centre's research has shown areas such as the Isle of Wight and Lincolnshire to have some of the highest risk factors. These areas not only have older populations, but also higher levels of social deprivation.

To see the dashboard click here