Coronavirus News in brief

Bucks trails in vaccine roll-out but promises firm date for elderly as pace speeds up

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE Council said last night that all residents aged 80 and over will be offered a Covid vaccine in the next two weeks. All those over 70 will be offered one in the next four weeks.

Council leader Martin Tett admitted the county had fallen behind neighbouring authorities recently. But he added: “You will now see real pace in terms of the numbers being vaccinated here so please don’t worry.  If you are expecting a vaccine and haven’t  heard anything yet, you will do very soon.”

Mr Tett also scotched rumours that vaccines meant for people who do not turn up for appointments are being discarded.  “No vaccine is being wasted in Buckinghamshire at the end of each day,” he said.  “Standby lists of vulnerable patients are in use to make sure any vaccines left over from missed appointments do not go to waste.”

Coronavirus update

  • Twice as many Covid patients in are local hospital beds compared to two weeks ago. NHS figures show that on Monday this week 41 per cent of beds in general and acute wards in Bucks hospitals were occupied by Covid patients, twice as many as on the 4th of  January. The numbers are 55 per cent higher than the peak of the first lockdown in April.  In Reading, the Royal Berkshire Hospital is moving recovering Covid patients into the nearby Holiday Inn to relieve the pressure on beds.
  • Latest figures show Slough had the second highest Covid infection rate in the country last week, just behind Knowsley in Merseyside. The figure equates to 1,042 for every 100,000 population.
  • NHS statistics yesterday showed that nearly 3,000 people had waited at least a year for non-urgent elective surgery in Buckinghamshire by the end of November – the largest figure since such records were first kept in 2011.
  • Buckinghamshire Council is preparing a one year budget instead of a three year one because of financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic. The council has lost more than £5m in parking income this financial year plus £5m  less from council tax, £5m less from business rates, and £2m less from leisure centres. Meanwhile it is having to spend several million pounds more on social care and home-to-school transport.
  • Penn’s MP Dame Cheryl Gillan  has asked the Government for more information on the impact of the lockdown on people suffering autism. She told the House of Commons: “Evidence is now becoming available that some of the people who are suffering most adversely in this lockdown are adults and children with autism.”
  • Joe Jacobson, Wycombe Wanderers’ usual on-field captain, told the BBC yesterday that trying not to hug other players after scoring during lockdown is difficult. “The elation is so high all you want to do is go and hug someone,” he said. The team’s immediate fixtures are off because of a Covid outbreak in the squad and Mr Jacobson said the club’s doctors, physios and manager were always reminding the players to follow the rules. 


Speeding traffic – Local police yesterday named the road between Hazlemere Crossroads and Penn as a hotspot for speeding vehicles. Sgt Darren Walsh, head of the local community police team, said that although officers are really busy at the moment they will endeavour to carry out more checks. 

Market revamp – Plans were announced last night to reinvigorate High Wycombe market in the High Street once the pandemic has eased. They include creating specialist areas for craft products, artisan foods, a food court and traditional fresh produce as well as a performance space for buskers and story-tellers. The continuation of the experimental Sunday vegan market is also expected.