The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the last seven days has fallen across Devon and Cornwall – except in Plymouth where they have risen.
[This is why test, track, and trace is best directed and managed locally. The broader context is that cases are rising nationally and not all those with symptoms get tested – Owl]
Government statistics show that 96 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 102 new cases confirmed last week.
Nearly half of the new cases were in Plymouth, with 40 cases confirmed this week, with 16 in Cornwall, four in Torbay, and 35 across the rest of Devon.
Cases have almost doubled in Plymouth – from 21 to 40 – as the track and trace operation catches those who had been in contact with the ‘Zante 11’, but cases in Cornwall have fallen to 16 to 19, in Torbay they have dropped from 14 to four, and across the rest of Devon, have dropped from 48 to 34.
And the number of people in hospital in the whole of the South West has fallen to just 10 – the lowest number since figures began to be recorded in April.
Of the 96 new cases, 16 were in Cornwall, with eight in East Devon, seven in Exeter, seven in Mid Devon, two in North Devon,40 in Plymouth, six in the South Hams, five in Teignbridge, four in Torbay, and one in Torridge. No new cases were confirmed in West Devon.
However, not all of the 96 cases related to specimen dates from the last week, with 78 of the cases having a specimen date of between August 28 and September 3, with one of the cases in Teignbridge dating back to July 16.
Only 78 of the cases had a specimen date of between August 28-September 3, 14 of Cornwall cases occurred in that period, with five in East Devon, four in Exeter, six in Mid Devon, two in North Devon, four in the South Hams, four in Teignbridge, 35 in Plymouth, four in Torbay, and one in Torridge.
The remaining cases dated back to earlier in August, and in one instance, as far back as July 16.
By specimen date, the most recent case in Cornwall, Plymouth, East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon Torbay, Torridge, and the South Hams, is September 2, from September 1 in Exeter and Teignbridge, and August 10 in West Devon.
And based on cases by specimen date, the number is falling in Plymouth as well. After 14 cases occurred on August 29, subsequent days have so far seen five, three, five, two and zero cases.
Of the cases with a specimen date of between August 25 and 31, there are currently eight clusters where three of more cases have been confirmed in a Middle Super Output Area – four in Devon and four in Plymouth.
There is a cluster of three cases in Clyst, Exton and Lympstone in East Devon, three cases in Middlemoor and Sowton in Exeter, and three in both Dartington and Loddiswell, and Ivybridge, in the South Hams.
Plymouth currently has a cluster of five cases in Plympton Underwood and Plymstock Hooe and Oreston, and four cases in North Prospect and Mannamead and Hartley.
Clusters in Mutley and Peverell in Plymouth, Wellswood in Torbay, Teignmouth North in Teignbridge, Bradninch, Silverton and Thorverton, Cullompton, and Morchard Bishop, Copplestone & Newton St Cyres have dropped off the map in the most recent week. Every other MSOA region of Devon and Cornwall – small patches of around 7,200 average population – have had two or fewer cases in that time period, with it now been eight weeks since the last cluster was registered in Cornwall.
The majority of the cases confirmed in the most recent week in the Devon County Council area, as was the week before, and from groups of people travelled abroad on holiday, some of them returned with coronavirus, who were picked up immediately by NHS Test and Trace on their return and they and their contacts advised to self-isolate.
A spokesman for Devon County Council added: “The numbers currently stand at around 30 cases in Devon, about the same last week. As those earlier returns come out of self-isolation, we’ve got equal numbers going in. With August behind us, we expect the numbers will start to fall again.
“We’ll continue to monitor the data really closely, so we’re able to respond immediately to any significant rise. But it’s a reminder that we’ve all still got to play our part and take care when travelling abroad and at home. Remember the precautions and continue to heed the advice.
“The numbers though are still comparatively very low compared to elsewhere in the country, and the risk of spread within communities in Devon is also still very low. “
However, despite the rise in cases across the region from previous figures, the number of people in hospital with coronavirus has continued to fall, and in the South West, the figure has dropped from 13 last Friday, to 10 today – the lowest figure since April when numbers began to be collated.
The last death in a hospital in Devon and Cornwall occurred on June 29, and latest figures produced today from the ONS showed that only four people in the two counties had COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate in July. That was down from 20 in June, 118 in May, 373 in April, and 53 in March.
The R Rate for the South West is now being estimated as between 0.8 and 1.1, down from 0.9 to 1.1,as of last week but it covers a large geographical area and low case numbers mean the estimates is insufficiently robust to inform policy decisions.
In total, Torridge has had 58 positive cases, West Devon 76, with 116 in the South Hams, 133 in North Devon, 229 in Teignbridge, 231 in Mid Devon, 256 in East Devon, 274 in Exeter, 306 in Torbay, 754 in Plymouth and 996 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Torridge remains the place in England with the lowest overall positivity rate, and is 3rd in the overall table behind Na h-Eileanan Siar (Outer Hebrides) and the Orkney Islands.
Including Scotland and Wales as well, the South Hams is 7th, West Devon 8 th , North Devon 9th, Teignbridge 13 th , Cornwall 14 th , East Devon 15th, Exeter 23rd, Torbay 31st, Mid Devon 51st and Plymouth 55th of the 369 regions.
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.
The data is now shown by the date the specimen was taken from the person being tested and while it gives a useful analysis of the progression of cases over time, it does mean that the latest days’ figures may be incomplete.
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.