COVID-19: Testing numbers rise in Devon as confirmed cases fall

  Posted: 16.09.20 at 13:45 by Joseph Bulmer

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Devon's Public Health Director has said despite problems with COVID-19 testing nationally here in Devon more test are beginining to take place and the number of confirmed cases is falling.

According to Dr Virginia Pearson there has been 'a big rise' in testing rates over the the past seven days and there are no 'clear signs of any significant outbreaks'.

The week before last saw 6,500 people tested for COVID-19, last week 8,500 people were tested.

Public Health Director for Devon, Dr Virginia Pearson said: “It is clear that there are some real issues with public access to testing via the NHS Test and Trace system across Devon, and this is a national issue.

“But the latest data actually shows a big rise in the numbers of tests completed in the last seven days compared to the previous week, which suggests part of the issue is the rise in demand for tests.

“It is natural that with children going back to school and the usual coughs and colds being spread among them at this time of year, coupled with a heightened awareness of COVID-19 symptoms, plus that people who are ill and their families are being asked to self-isolate, that demand for testing has risen.

“But confirmed cases in Devon are actually still very low compared to other parts of the country, and appear to be isolated cases with no clear sign of any significant outbreaks.”

"Test numbers in Devon increased from around 6,500 in the previous week, to around 8,500 tests last week. At the same time, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases over the latest week dropped – from 54 to 26 – with the rate of people who have had a test being tested positive being very low (0.3%).

“Clearly we need people with genuine COVID-19 symptoms – a high temperature; a new and continuous cough; a change in your sense of smell or taste – to self-isolate and then have a test,” says Dr Pearson.

“If you live with others, self-isolating also means your household. So if one of you in the house has symptoms, all of you need to stay at home until that person has been tested, and then dependent on the test result. No one else in the households needs to have a test, unless they develop any of the three symptoms.

“If you test negative, your household can stop self-isolating. If you test positive, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days and others in the household for 14 days.

“If we stick to this then we can make sure that all those that really need to be tested can be tested, and that key workers and the most vulnerable can be prioritised.”

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