How the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Scarborough one year on

As the nation marks 12 months since the first coronavirus lockdown was announced, Scarborough takes stock of how the pandemic took hold on the coast.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:30 pm

The coronavirus has cost the lives of 196 people in the borough and at least 5,409 others have contracted the virus.

The rise of Covid-19 in Scarborough has not matched the rest of the UK. The borough had at one point seemingly contained the spread of the virus seeing a terrifying spike in infections during the autumn, before cases started to rise nationally in the run-up to Christmas.

The invisible killer claimed its first life in Scarborough on March 26, just three days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed how the country would be shut down to try and stop its march.

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At one point Scarborough's infection rate was the highest in the country.

The first cases in the borough came on March 20 when two people returned positive tests.

At the end of the first wave on June 23 64 people in Scarborough had died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test.

The borough then went 102 days without a Covid-19 death and the infection rate dropped to zero as a summer of hope emerged from the gloom.

In July, Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised Scarborough in the House of Commons for "suppressing" the disease and thanked residents for following the rules of the lockdown.

Then, suddenly, the borough was plunged back into the heart of the pandemic. First, Scarborough was placed on a watch list as an area of concern as its infection rate per 100,000 people moved into the 20s.

In October, deaths started to climb as the infection rate kept going up.

As October became November things took a turn for the worse.

Scarborough's infection rate hit more than 600, giving it the highest rate in the country at one point.

The borough, which had gone months without seeing a single case, was now recording hundreds of new cases every single day. On November 6, just days after the second lockdown began, a total 122 people living in Scarborough tested positive for Covid-19, the most in a single 24 hours in the borough at any point in the pandemic.

The number of deaths in the borough which had not increased between the end of June and early October doubled to 129 in just two months and did not stop climbing until the start of this month when the most recent person lost their life to the virus.

The speed of the explosion of the second wave can be seen in the fact that it took until October 16 last year for Scarborough's confirmed cases to break the 1,000 mark, but it would hit 2,000 less than a month later and go on to record 1,000 cases in both December and January.

The influx of tourists over the October half-term was blamed by one town council for the cases rising but health chiefs dismissed the concern saying it most-likely down to households mingling.

From peaks of more than 600 in November and 400 in January the borough's infection rate is now in the mid-30s, still above the level when it was first listed as an area of concern before the Tier system was brought in last year, but certainly in a much better place than at the turn of the year.

The numbers of Covid-19 patients in Scarborough Hospital is also down on its peak with four people currently requiring treatment, down from more than 60 in November.