UKC

Portland - virus hotspot?

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I remember in Spring last year a few helpful threads explaining some of the access issues on Portland, basically that locals weren't wildly keen on lots of climbers heading down even as lockdown was being eased in case there was a lot of covid transmission, blockaded car parks etc etc. As a newcomer to the sport I found the posts very helpful btw.

I'm not considering heading down for a while (stay local etc, I'm based in London) but I couldn't help noticing from the Govt. C-19 map that Portland has one of the highest levels of Covid in the country. A population adjusted rolling rate of 646 per 100,000, which seems to be the highest in the country as of Tuesday evening? Higher even than some of the Fenland towns that have an issue.

Is that linked to the prison (prisons?), or is there a genuine issue in the wider population? We're not too far from things opening up a little more, could be helpful info for people nipping down. Seems only fair to add that I hope the plague-ridden of Portland (i) get well soon, and (ii) stay TF away from London!

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map

In reply to Eduardo2010:

I wonder if it's spread by rabbits?

 marsbar 02 Mar 2021
In reply to Eduardo2010:

There is an outbreak in a prison, around 20% of prisoners have Covid.  Presumably this is why.  

In reply to Eduardo2010:

Portland seems idyllic but Weston (I think I've got the right one) is a fairly scabby, densely populated housing estate with a fair whack of social housing - basically the sort of place where spread in other towns and cities is high - usually because you tend to find you get generations of families etc on such estates and they're always in and out of each others' houses.

It won't be anything to do with climbers (not that now is the right time to go there for that, of course).

In reply to marsbar:

Makes sense. But then assuming the warders live locally, assume there will be a fair bit of community transmission?

In reply to marsbar:

> There is an outbreak in a prison, around 20% of prisoners have Covid.  Presumably this is why.  

If there's any consolation, the prison in question is used for men convicted of a sex offence and includes amongst its guests a certain Paul Gadd.

 Welsh Kate 02 Mar 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

> I wonder if it's spread by rabbits?

You mean by bunnies?!

In reply to Welsh Kate:

> You mean by bunnies?!

I think that's the preferred local term... 🐇

In reply to Neil Williams:

> Portland seems idyllic but Weston (I think I've got the right one) is a fairly scabby, densely populated housing estate with a fair whack of social housing - basically the sort of place where spread in other towns and cities is high - usually because you tend to find you get generations of families etc on such estates and they're always in and out of each others' houses.

Can't decide if that's full on Daily Mail.
Or, what some Guardian readers really think when their guard is down and they've forgotten that they're supposed to be all Owen Jonesy when it comes to identifying with real people...

 Meddins 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Eduardo2010:

Officers not warders if you please 🙂

In reply to FactorXXX:

> Can't decide if that's full on Daily Mail.

> Or, what some Guardian readers really think when their guard is down and they've forgotten that they're supposed to be all Owen Jonesy when it comes to identifying with real people...

I was quite careful about how I wrote it.  But there is a genuine concern about that sort of estate, where you tend to get a lot more natural mixing (both friends and family) than you do in unfriendly middle class suburbs - the positive way of putting it is that people on rough estates tend to look out for each other more (which means more mixing) than people in middle class suburbs.  My PHE contact (haven't mentioned him in a while but it's another place where he's relevant) has commented in the past that that is why the Northern "mill towns" had a problem even during lockdown.

I doubt many would say that Weston was nice.

Post edited at 07:22
In reply to Neil Williams:

I think you phrased it very well. You don’t make facts go away by not mentioning them.

In reply to Rog Wilko:

FWIW I'm not being a hypocrite about the sort of area Weston is - I live in/adjacent to a very similar area of 1960s ex-Council houses and flats - I've been known to joke about it being "Bletchley-on-Sea" before

And yes, West Bletchley has, for no doubt very similar reasons, had periods of quite high cases compared to the rest of MK.

Post edited at 10:18
 mutt 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

I think the term you are looking for is Socially Deprived. Unless of course you really did mean to malign everyone living in Weston.

In reply to mutt:

Calling an estate scabby was referring to the appearance of it, not the people living therein.  It isn't a pretty place (and nor is a fair bit of West Bletchley where I live).

Yes, "socially deprived" probably is the phrase I was looking for.

Post edited at 13:50

In reply to Neil Williams:

I was brought up in Bletchley on Buckingham Road. At that time Milton Keynes was a few houses, a church, a pub and a duck pond. Are they still there?

 AJM 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

I guess it's worth observing at this point that whatever your views on Weston are, the bit of Portland with the really high rates *isn't* Weston - it's the northern of the two areas that Portland is broken down into, which broadly speaking is Fortuneswell, Castletown, and The Grove.

The residential area where the blacknor car park is, and the other one on the other side of the main road further inland, are all in the "Southwell and Weston" area which has a rate of 110 per 100k.

Edit: it's also based on 39 cases - I think a healthy suspicion of the readings at that very granular geographic area is advisable once those numbers themselves become low - it's only a population unit of 6,000.

Post edited at 15:43
 JIMBO 03 Mar 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

> I think that's the preferred local term... 🐇

stibbar.... the proper local term as I recall it 🥸

In reply to Rog Wilko:

> I was brought up in Bletchley on Buckingham Road. At that time Milton Keynes was a few houses, a church, a pub and a duck pond. Are they still there?

Milton Keynes Village still exists, yes, though it's also known as Middleton (which is where "Milton" comes from) to avoid confusion with the place as a whole.  Indeed, it's rather a "hidden gem", protected from through traffic by that being on the grid system, like quite a few of the old MK villages are.

In reply to AJM:

Thanks for that, I stand corrected.

When you get into smaller numbers of cases like that it doesn't take much to change the rate substantially - this could well be nothing out of the ordinary at all.

 chris_r 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Thanks for that, I stand corrected.

> When you get into smaller numbers of cases like that it doesn't take much to change the rate substantially - this could well be nothing out of the ordinary at all.

Absolutely right. Rates per 100,000 can be very misleading at MSOA level (Middle SuperOutput Area). Typical population is 6000, so even one extra (or unreported) case can result skew the rate per 100k.

In reply to Eduardo2010:

This was my first "topic" posted on the forum, amused to see the meanders it has taken...

I have to say that when I read about the access issues last year, on my first trip to Portland I was expecting it to be like South Armagh in late 80s with roads blocked, angry locals throwing stones and children cooking food over open fires in the street. In reality Weston seemed pretty low key, locals broadly amiable. I reckon there are more threatening parts of Kensington...

We took a wrong turn at one point and a bloke with a really red face that looked APOPLECTIC started shouting at us, but was just having a bit of fun. "I'm not saying you're properly stupid because you look like you've been to posh school, but the sign you need is pretty f-ing obvious back there lads" etc

Sods law my car gets burgled and set on fire next time I'm down.

(for my money [39] cases is a lot for a small island, data anomalies accepted)


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