SOMETHING does not add up about the different ways Covid cases are being counted in Oxford.

There appears to be some kind of discrepancy in the number of cases in the city as a result of two separate testing regimes: the public test centres, and Oxford University's own testing centre.

For the week up to Friday, October 16, official data from Public Health England, as presented by Oxfordshire County Council, showed there were 184 Covid cases in Oxford.

Over the same period, Oxford University's own testing centre recorded a total of 197 positive Covid cases.

It is unclear how the two separate sets of figures marry up with one another.

ALSO READ: 'Paedophile hunters' snared pervert who offered to take 'child' to hotel

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council's public health team acknowledged they were aware of the problem.

But they were unable to say if the discrepancy, once resolved, might increase the overall number of cases in Oxford or even affect it in any way at all.

A spokesman for Oxford University suggested one likely reason for the difference in figures was that not all staff and students were registered with a local GP in the city.

Many Oxford University staff members commute into the city from rural districts, as was pointed out by the Pro-Vice Chancellor in a letter he wrote to lobby for better cycle routes into the city recently.

If they test positive, then their results may count towards areas of Oxfordshire outside the city.

And as was pointed out by Oxford's Labour MP Anneliese Dodds only earlier this month, many students are still registered with their GPs back home in other parts of the country: this means their test results could count towards the Covid case rates in other areas.

However, the University spokesman said all of the figures 'do definitely feed into the national numbers' and there was no 'double counting' of results.

A Public Health England spokeswoman also said the organisation was aware of the discrepancy and was working to resolve it.

She suggested that a difference in the date at which Oxford University and PHE count their coronavirus test results might be contributing to the difference as well.

This 'specimen date' is counted from the date a test is carried out by Public Health England, but it is possible the University counts its tests from the date a result is received instead.

She added: "The most important thing is the local authority is working really closely with the University and PHE to manage the outbreak."

Covid case numbers are not the only measure of how the virus is spreading, but it is an important one when health officials consider imposing more restrictions on people's freedoms.

Public health officers also look at the age groups of people infected with the virus and how it is spreading in the community.

A trend of Covid cases among older and more vulnerable people in rural areas of Oxfordshire led the county's public health director to apply for strict Tier 2 measures earlier this week.

But the request was denied by the Government, and it emerged Oxfordshire's Conservative MPs had lobbied against the heightened measures.

READ AGAIN about the divide over moving into Tier 2 here

Oxford University set up its own testing centre for staff and students to take pressure off the existing system.

A walk-in testing centre at Oxford Brookes tests both local residents and students.