Publication - Strategy/plan

Coronavirus (COVID-19): allocation of levels to local authorities - 1 December 2020

Published: 1 Dec 2020

Outcome of the 4th review of the allocation of levels to local authorities, alongside evidence and analysis informing these decisions.

Published:
1 Dec 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): allocation of levels to local authorities - 1 December 2020

Purpose

This document sets out:

  • the outcome of the fourth review of the allocation of levels to local authorities 
  • a summary of the reasons for changes in allocation

An evidence paper setting out the data and analysis supporting these decisions has also been published.

See: Coronavirus (COVID-19): protection level reviews and evidence to ensure you are viewing the most up-to-date review information.

Decision-making process

On 29 October 2020, as part of Scotland’s Strategic Framework, we published the initial allocation of levels to local authorities. These allocations came into effect on 2 November 2020.

The allocation document makes clear that decisions have to be based firmly on the best available evidence, assessed through a process that is open, transparent and collaborative and frequently reviewed so that restrictions are not kept in place longer than is strictly necessary to achieve the aim of suppressing the virus.

The allocations are reviewed weekly and this document sets out the outcome of the fourth review.

In line with the process set out in the allocations document, the National Incident Management Team (NIMT), chaired by Public Health Scotland and including representatives from local government as observers, met to discuss the latest analysis of data, which had been agreed with local partners including Directors of Public Health. The NIMT then provided advice to a group made up of the Scottish Government’s chief advisers and lead officials representing the “four harms” and observers from local government. This group helped form recommendations for Ministers on allocation of levels, which were discussed with the relevant local authorities, and then agreed by the Scottish Cabinet on 1 December 2020.

The critical indicators which inform the allocation of levels are:

a) the number of cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days

b) the percentage of tests that are positive over the past seven days

c) forecasts of the number of cases per 100,000 consisting of the weekly number of cases in two weeks’ time

d) current and projected future use of local hospital beds, compared with capacity

e) current and projected future use of intensive care beds, compared with capacity

The status of these indicators, including relevant trends for each local authority, is  set out in the accompanying evidence paper.  The data themselves do not determine the relevant level of any local authority, and they are considered alongside local intelligence and other local, regional and national factors.  As Scotland’s Strategic Framework  (p.23) says: 'These decisions require judgement to be applied to all the facts and considerations relevant at the time they are made, and in relation to the area directly affected and for Scotland as a whole.'

Summary of review

In announcing the initial allocation of levels to local authorities to Parliament on 29 October, the First Minister made it clear that the Scottish Government was taking a deliberately cautious approach. This was not only to reflect the fact that we were introducing a new framework for the first time, but also the fragility of the situation we were facing.

Eleven local authority areas moved to level 4 on 20 November. It is too early to make any judgements on the impact of that move. In recognition of the considerable restrictions involved in level 4 protective measures, the position for these areas will be monitored particularly closely as part of the weekly review process.

Since the levels approach was introduced we have seen a decrease in the number of positive cases being reported each day. This suggests that the protective measures currently in place are having a positive effect. Prevalence of the virus is still too high, but we hope to see further improvements over the coming weeks as the data begin to reflect the impact of the level 4 measures.

Progress continues to be dependent on public support and compliance. Evidence suggests that compliance in general is strong but it remains critical that everyone abides by the current guidance and regulations in order to prevent further spread. 13.

Guidance for the festive period was published on 26 November 2020. This advised that up to 8 people from a maximum of 3 households could form a “bubble” to facilitate festive gatherings. This measure was introduced to address issues of isolation over the festive period but the safest way to spend Christmas is to stay within your own household, in your own home and your own local area.

It is important that careful consideration is given to the risk that is associated with coming together for Christmas in order to prevent significant spread of the virus.  Widespread gathering over Christmas could undermine the progress that has been made and may mean that more restrictive protective measures might be needed in the future.

The outcome of this week’s review is that no changes were recommended for this week. We have seen some areas improve, some remain broadly static and some showing signs of deterioration. For those local authorities in those latter two categories in particular we will continue to monitor the situation in depth with the local Director of Public Health and with the NIMT. The next scheduled review will be on 8 December. We reserve the right to bring that forward for any one or more local authority as the situation requires.

Currently 11 local authorities are in level 4. When announcing this move the First Minister advised that areas would likely remain in level 4 until 11 December. These areas continue to be closely monitored but current trends suggest that it may be possible for these areas to move down on 11 December. This is dependent on continued progress and will be confirmed at the next review.

We remain confident that with local authorities allocated to the appropriate level, the measures in place within the levels will impact positively on the course of the pandemic. That, however may take some time. So while the decisions set out in this document are justified, necessary and proportionate for each local authority, the overall national impact of the measures has also to be considered as part of that assessment. That means that local authorities will not move down levels until there is sustained evidence of improvement, but may require to move up levels quickly in the event of a worsening position to mitigate the risk of deterioration and associated harms.

Local authority: allocation of level to each area and summary of indicators
 

Local authority*

Cases / 100k

Test Positivity

Cases / 100k forecast

Hospital forecast

ICU forecast

Present level

New Level

East Ayrshire

M

H

L

L

L

4

4

North Ayrshire

M

H

L

L

L

3

3

South Ayrshire

M

H

L

L

L

4

4

Scottish Borders

L

L

L

L

L

2

2

Dumfries and Galloway

L

VL

VL

L

L

2

2

Fife

M

H

L

              L

L

3

3

Clackmannanshire

M

M

M

L

L

3

3

Falkirk

L

L

VL

L

L

3

3

Stirling

M

H

M

L

L

4

4

Moray

VL

VL

VL

L

L

1

1

Aberdeen City

M

H

VL

L

L

2

2

Aberdeenshire

M

H

L

L

L

2

2

East Renfrewshire

H

H

M

L

L

4

4

Inverclyde

M

M

L

L

L

3

3

Renfrewshire

H

H

M

L

L

4

4

West Dunbartonshire

M

M

L

L

L

4

4

East Dunbartonshire

M

H

L

L

L

4

4

Glasgow City

H

H

L

L

L

4

4

Highland

VL

VL

VL

L

L

1

1

Argyll and Bute

L

M

VL

L

L

2

2

South Lanarkshire

H

H

M

L

L

4

4

North Lanarkshire

H

H

M

L

L

4

4

East Lothian

L

M

VL

L

L

2

2

Midlothian

L

H

L

L

L

3

3

City of Edinburgh

L

M

L

L

L

3

3

West Lothian

M

H

M

L

L

4

4

Orkney Islands

VL

VL

VL

L

L

1

1

Shetland Islands

VL

VL

VL

L

L

1

1

Angus

L

M

L

L

L

3

3

Dundee City

M

H

VL

L

L

3

3

Perth and Kinross

M

H

L

L

L

3

3

Na h-Eileanan Siar

      VL

VL

VL

L

L

1

1

*Ordered by health board

VL = very low
L = low
M = moderate
H = high
VH = very high

Summary of reasons for allocation of level

The following table sets out summary information only. Further data is contained in the supporting evidence paper. Broader information, including at the local level by the National Incident Management Team, has also been considered in reaching these allocation decisions.
 

Local authority

level

Summary of reasons for change in allocation of level

Aberdeen City

2

  • case numbers and positivity rates rose again this week and are a cause for concern
  • there are some outbreaks in the area which are being managed locally which may be contributing to the observed increases
  • this will continue to be monitored closely
  • allocation unchanged

Aberdeenshire

2

  • case numbers and positivity rates rose again this week and are a cause for concern
  • there are some outbreaks in the area which are being managed locally which may be contributing to the observed increases
  • this will continue to be monitored closely
  • allocation unchanged

Angus

3

  • some improvement in case numbers and test positivity over the last week but no consistent downward trend
  • too early to say if move to level 3 has had desired effect but early signs suggest stabilising of numbers
  • allocation unchanged

Argyll and Bute

2

  • sharp rise in case numbers and positivity rates over this week
  • overall numbers are still low but the upward trend will be monitored
  • allocation unchanged

City of Edinburgh

3

  • some evidence that improvement in cases and test positivity may be plateauing
  • allocation unchanged

Clackmannanshire

3

  • no consistent progress over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

Dumfries and Galloway

2

  • consistent improvements in case numbers and positivity rates over the last week   
  • if positive trends continue a move to level 1 should be considered however proximity to areas with higher prevalence will need to be considered
  • allocation unchanged

Dundee City

3

  • some  sustained improvement in case numbers and positivity rates over last week
  • allocation unchanged

East Ayrshire

4

  • some improvement in case numbers and test positivity
  • allocation unchanged

East Dunbartonshire

4

  • consistent improvement in case numbers and test positivity
  • allocation unchanged

East Lothian

2

  • little change in case numbers, which remain low compared to national average
  • increase in test positivity rates this week
  • allocation unchanged

East Renfrewshire

4

  • Some slow improvement in case numbers and test positivity
  • allocation unchanged

Falkirk

3

  • consistent improvement in case numbers and test positivity in last week
  • allocation unchanged

Fife

3

  • some improvement in case numbers and test positivity in last week
  • allocation unchanged

Glasgow City

4

  • consistent improvements in case numbers and test positivity over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

Highland

1

  • cases remain low
  • allocation unchanged

Inverclyde

3

  • no consistent progress over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

Midlothian

3

  • no consistent progress over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

Moray

1

  • cases remain low
  • allocation unchanged

Na h-Eilean Siar

1

  • numbers continue to be low and will be monitored to see if recent changes to indoor socialising rules have any impact
  • allocation unchanged

North Ayrshire

3

  • no consistent progress over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

North Lanarkshire

4

  • consistent improvements in case numbers and test positivity over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

Orkney Islands

1

  • numbers continue to be low and will be monitored to see if recent changes to indoor socialising rules have any impact
  • allocation unchanged

Perth and Kinross

3

  • no consistent progress over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

Renfrewshire

4

  • no consistent progress over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

Scottish Borders

2

  • decreases in case numbers and test positivity over the last week  
  • if positive trends continue a move to level 1 should be considered however proximity to areas with higher prevalence will need to be considered
  • allocation unchanged

Shetland Islands

1

  • numbers continue to be low and will be monitored to see if recent changes to indoor socialising rules have any impact
  • allocation unchanged

South Ayrshire

4

  • no sustained improvement in last week
  • allocation unchanged

South Lanarkshire

4

  • cases and test positivity decreasing, but slowly
  • allocation unchanged

Stirling

4

  • decreases in case numbers over last week but no sustained progress in test positivity
  • allocation unchanged

West Dunbartonshire

4

  • consistent improvement in case numbers and test positivity in the last week  
  • allocation unchanged

West Lothian

4

  • some improvement in case numbers or test positivity over the last week
  • allocation unchanged

 

Evidence paper