CHESHIRE residents have now been living under the third national coronavirus lockdown for almost four weeks.

As we say goodbye to January and hello to February, here is everything you need to know about the current Covid situation across Cheshire East and West boroughs.

How common is Covid-19 across Cheshire now?

The number of positive Covid tests across the county has fallen dramatically in the past couple of weeks, having surged in the first few weeks after Christmas.

Cheshire East’s infection rate is now at its lowest level since December 20, at 206.4 per 100,000 people, compared to 300.1 per 100,000 people one week ago.

Meanwhile, Cheshire West’s infection rate is now at its lowest level since December 26, at 299.4 per 100,000 people compared to 388.3 per 100,000 people one week ago.

Both boroughs saw their infection rates peak in the seven days up to January 4, when Cheshire East’s rate was 497.7 per 100,000 people and Cheshire West’s was 625.8 per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, 447 new Covid cases were confirmed across the two boroughs over the weekend.

In Cheshire East, 99 were announced on Saturday and 113 on Sunday, while in Cheshire West 120 were announced on Saturday and 115 on Sunday.

What is the situation in Cheshire hospitals?

In the latest figures available, Leighton Hospital’s trust was caring for 184 Covid patients on January 26, with 15 on mechanical ventilation.

Macclesfield Hospital’s trust was caring for 124 Covid patients at the same time, with five on ventilation ­– while the Countess of Chester had 255 Covid patients, including 19 on ventilation.

Northwich Guardian:

Image: PA

Macclesfield’s trust was experiencing its peak of Covid patients on January 26, while Leighton’s trust was at its busiest on January 19 with 209 Covid patients, and the Countess was busiest on January 21 with 290 patients.

Sadly, all three hospital trusts reported more deaths from coronavirus over the weekend – with 12 reported by the Countess, nine by Leighton’s NHS trust and two by Macclesfield’s NHS trust.

It means 419 of Mid Cheshire Hospitals’ Covid patients have now died, along with 505 at the Countess and 261 at East Cheshire Trust.

Only deaths that occur in hospitals where the patient has tested positive for Covid-19 are recorded by NHS England, with deaths in the community excluded, such as those in care homes.

The patients’ families have been informed.

What about the vaccine?

As of January 24, the most recent data available from NHS England, 292,278 people across Cheshire and Merseyside had their first Covid vaccine jab.

Northwich Guardian:

Image: PA

A further 27,828 people had already had their second jab by that date.

Eighty-one per cent of residents aged 80 or above in Cheshire and Merseyside had their first jab by January 24, while 13.4 per cent had their second jab.

When might the lockdown be lifted?

On Sunday, Public Health England’s Dr Susan Hopkins warned that relaxing lockdown measures would have to be done ‘very slowly, very cautiously’ to avoid a surge in infections.

Northwich Guardian:

Dr Susan Hopkins. Image: PA

“We have learnt, as we did on the first occasion, we have to relax things really quite slowly, so that if cases start to increase we can clamp down quite fast,” she told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.

“The NHS is going to be under pressure until the end of March, as normal in winter, but even more so with the amount of inpatients they still have with Covid-19.

“Any releases that we have will have to happen very slowly, very cautiously, watching and waiting as we go, with a two-week period to watch and see the impact of that relaxation because it takes that to see what’s happening in the population.”

She added that experts expect to see an impact of the coronavirus vaccine on the over-80s over the next two weeks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that a 'roadmap' out of lockdown would be revealed by Government in the week beginning February 22.

However, schools will remain closed until at least March 8.