Posted: 15.02.21 at 14:14 by Daniel Clark
The number of coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall has fallen by a quarter in the last week, and is now at the lowest level since the start of December.
A total of 1,169 new cases were confirmed across the two counties in the last week as the total for the two counties now stands at 44,104 – the lowest weekly total for nine weeks.
The number of those new cases in East Devon was 90.
Devon also has the lowest infection rates of any upper tier authority in England, with Plymouth second and Cornwall third, and at a lower tier level, the seven lowest infection rates are all in Devon.
Government statistics show that 1,169 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 1,547 new cases confirmed last week.
Of the 1,169 cases confirmed since February 5, 425 were in Cornwall, 68 in Exeter, 101 in Mid Devon, 24 in North Devon, 145 in Plymouth, 39 in South Hams, 149 in Torbay, 11 in Torridge and 12 in West Devon.
This compares to the 1,547 cases confirmed between January 29 and February 5, of which 592 were in Cornwall, with 108 in East Devon, 51 in Exeter, 105 in Mid Devon, 27 in North Devon, 242 in Plymouth, 55 in South Hams, 114 in Teignbridge, 203 in Torbay, 11 in Torridge and 39 in West Devon.
At upper tier level, Devon has the lowest infection rate in England at 56.6/100,000, and is the lowest since October 1, with Plymouth having the second lowest and Cornwall third.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 324 patients occupying hospital beds across the county after a positive test, down on the 403 as of the previous Tuesday, and patient numbers having fallen in all of Devon and Cornwall’s hospitals.
Devon’s figures are slightly inflated by the fact that the hospitals have been taking in patients from elsewhere in the country, including Somerset and Dorset, because in those regions, they are closer to capacity than Devon is.
In total, as of Tuesday, there were 58 patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (down from 80 as of Jan 26), 57 at the Nightingale (up from 55), 35 at Torbay Hospital (down from 42), 92 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (down from 112), 8 at North Devon District Hospital (unchanged), and four in Devon Partnership NHS Trust units (up from 3) although not all patients are local given some have been transferred to the region from elsewhere.
The figure for the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital of 58 patients is the lowest that they have been treating for nearly three months – when there were 55 patients on November 7.
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 the last week, there have been 47 deaths in Devon and Cornwall hospitals of patients within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, with 23 in Cornwall, 12 in Plymouth, six in Torbay, five in Exeter and one in North Devon.
It comes as Steve Brown, director of public health Devon, said that while the news that Devon has the lowest infection rates is good news, it is too soon for celebration.
He said: “Case numbers are continuing to fall in most parts of Devon, and that’s because people in the main are adhering to the national restrictions.
“We are seeing a slight increase in cases in Mid Devon, although case numbers there are still low – and far lower than the national average.
“But those Mid Devon numbers should be a reminder to show how easily cases can go up quickly as well as go down.”
Case rates are currently highest for those aged 20 to 39, but are falling in all age groups, and most rapidly in those aged 80 and over.
He added: “Please don’t be complacent or drop your guard, either in the workplace or indeed travelling to or from work.”