Virus cases continue to fall

By Daniel Clark   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Saturday 30th January 2021 12:35 pm
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The number of virus cases has dropped to double figures in the South Hams this week, official figures show, with the number of cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall falling by a third.

A total of 2,327 new cases were confirmed across the two counties in the last week as the total for the two counties now stands at 41,388 – the lowest total for five weeks – as South Hams recorded 80 new cases, down from 147 the week previously.

Government statistics show that 2,327 new cases have been confirmed across the region in the past seven days in both pillar 1 data from tests carried out by the NHS and pillar 2 data from commercial partners, compared to 3,521 new cases confirmed last week.

Of the 2,327 cases confirmed since January 22, 1,005 were in Cornwall, with 152 in East Devon, 110 in Exeter, 107 in Mid Devon, 51 in North Devon, 382 in Plymouth, 80 in South Hams, 137 in Teignbridge, 211 in Torbay, 30 in Torridge and 62 in West Devon

This compared to the 3,521 cases confirmed between January 16 and 22, of which 1,229 were in Cornwall, with 221 in East Devon, 258 in Exeter, 127 in Mid Devon, 72 in North Devon, 794 in Plymouth, 147 in South Hams, 245 in Teignbridge, 278 in Torbay, 39 in Torridge and 111 in West Devon

By specimen date, everywhere is seeing cases fall, with a total of 1,811 of the cases in the past week having a specimen date between January 22 and 28, with 814 in Cornwall, 116 in East Devon, 90 in Exeter, 70 in Mid Devon, 34 in North Devon, 272 in Plymouth, 62 in South Hams, 105 in Teignbridge, 211 in Torbay, 26 in Torridge and 44 in West Devon.

Torridge is the area in England with the lowest infection rate (54/100,000), with North Devon second (67/100,000), East Devon fifth (111/100,000), South Hams sixth (114/100,000), Exeter eighth (126/100,000), with Mid Devon 12th (147/100,000), Teignbridge 13th (148/100,000), and West Devon 18th (158/100,000). Torbay’s infection rate is 168/100, with Cornwall’s at 176/100,000 and Plymouth’s at 208/100,000.

The latest positivity rate for tests carried out stands at 4.2 per cent in South Hams.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 443 patients in hospital across Devon and Cornwall following a positive Covid-19 test, up from 426 as of last Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, there were 42 patients at Torbay Hospital (up from 34) and 112 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (up from 110), although not all patients are local given some have been transferred to the region from elsewhere.

The figures show the amount of patients in hospital following a positive COVID-19 test who are currently occupying a bed.

But not every patient would necessarily have been admitted to hospital due to COVID-19, with a number of patients either contracting the virus inside the hospital, or being admitted for unrelated reasons but subsequently testing positive asymptotically when given routine tests.

In terms of the latest MSOA cluster maps, that cover the period of specimen dates between January 18 and January 24, there are 23 areas of Devon and Cornwall with between 0-2 cases, up from eight as of last Friday

The MSOA areas in South Hams with the highest number of cases is Ivybridge with 31.

It comes as Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said that while cases of COVID-19 are now falling in Devon, case numbers are still much higher than they were in November and December.

He said: “It looks like the current restrictions are having a positive impact and we are starting to see cases come down. While clearly its good news cases are coming down, they are still higher than in November and December, so now is not the time to drop our guard, so please stay at home and stick to the rules.”

More than 150,000 vaccinations in Devon have been carried out, more than anywhere else in the South West.

Latest NHS England figures, which provide the position as of January 24, shows that 157,181 vaccinations in the county had taken place, with 145,148 of them being the first dose.

The figures for Devon, which will have risen in the most recent days, are the highest number of vaccinations for any of the regions within the South West, and they show that 14.5 per cent of the population had received their first jab.

The statistics show that as of Sunday, of the 79,525 over 80s within Devon, 63,305 of them had received the first vaccine – a total of 79.6%, with 10,743 – 13.5% – having also had the second dose.

While the 79.6% figure is lower as a percentage of the total cohort than anywhere else in the South West other than Cornwall, Devon’s population of over 80s is significantly higher than every other region – more than double in some instances.

A total of 63,305 over 80s in Devon, and 81,835 under 80s, primarily those employed in health and social care settings, had received the first dose of the vaccination as of Sunday.

With the population of the Devon STP area being 999,049, the 145,148 who had received their first dose, means that as of Sunday, 14.5% of Devon’s residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Those numbers will have risen since.

The COVID-19 cases are identified by taking specimens from people and sending these specimens to laboratories around the UK to be tested. If the test is positive, this is a referred to as a lab-confirmed case.

Confirmed positive cases are matched to ONS geographical area codes using the home postcode of the person tested.

Cases received from laboratories by 12.30am are included in the counts published that day. While there may have been new cases of coronavirus confirmed or people having tested positive, those test results either yet to reach PHE for adding to the dataset or were not received in time for the latest daily figures to be published.

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