A new online tool maps out Essex’s potential coronavirus hotspot and the areas where residents are most likely to be hospitalised by the virus.

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.

An interactive map breaks the date down into Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOA) - a geospatial statistical unit for analysing local data.

Epping Forest Guardian:

The map shows the risk of hospitalisation in west Essex is highest in Moreton, Chipping Ongar, Theydon Bois, Chigwell Row, Lower Nazeing and Waltham Abbey.

These areas are displayed as red, indicating a risk of more than ten people per 1,000 needing hospital care in the event of an infection spike.

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.

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