Coronavirus cases rise overall in Devon and fall in Cornwall

The total number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in the last seven days across Devon has risen – but with falls in Plymouth and Cornwall.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com 

Government statistics show that 381 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 365 new cases confirmed last week.

The number of new cases confirmed in Cornwall has fallen, going from 179 to 132 in the latest seven days, while Plymouth has seen cases more than half, dropping from 74 to 36.

But in Torbay, cases have more than doubled, from 18 to 39 – partially linked to an outbreak at a care home. And in the Devon County Council area, they have nearly doubled, from 96 to 178, although 60 per cent of those cases are in Exeter, primarily linked to the University.

Of the 381 new cases, 132 were in Cornwall, with 11 in East Devon, 107 in Exeter, 8 in Mid Devon, 13 in North Devon, 36 in Plymouth, 9 in the South Hams, 20 in Teignbridge, 39 in Torbay, 5 in Torridge, and 4 in West Devon.

Cases in Cornwall, the South Hams, Plymouth have fallen compared to the previous week, with East Devon remaining the same

Of the 381 new cases confirmed, 280 of the cases have a specimen date of between September 25 and October 1, with the majority of the other 101 cases dated occurring between September 21 and 24, although some dated back to the start of the month.

Of the 303 of the cases had a specimen date of between September 25 and October 1, 91 of Cornwall cases occurred in that period, with 10 in East Devon, 72 in Exeter, 5 in Mid Devon, 12 in North Devon, 17 in the South Hams, 14 in Teignbridge, 31 in Plymouth, 32 in Torbay, 2 in Torridge, and 4 in West Devon.

By specimen date, the most recent case in Teignbridge is October 1, for Cornwall, Exeter, North Devon, Mid Devon, Plymouth, the South Hams, Torbay and West Devon is September 30, is September 29 for East Devon, and September 28 for Torridge.

While the number of cases in Devon have significantly risen, more than half of the cases are linked to students at the University of Exeter.

It is understood that at least 60 households within the City are self-isolating and following public health advice, and there is no evidence at this stage of the virus spreading into the wider community, say Public Health teams.

But as demand for tests is rising at the University, they have invited the national Test and Trace scheme to set up a temporary Testing Centre on the Streatham campus dedicated to Exeter students and staff, which will enable them to focus their Halo resources on some targeted testing, and to develop a process to enable staff family testing.

Of the cases with a specimen date of between September 22 to 28, there are currently 33 clusters where three of more cases have been confirmed in a Middle Super Output Area – seven in Devon, five in Torbay, five in Plymouth, and 16 in Cornwall.

There is a cluster of three cases in Ivybridge in the South Hams and four in Roundswell and Landkey in North Devon, with five clusters in Exeter – St Leonard’s with four, Central Exeter with five, St James Park and Hoopern with nine, Middlemoor and Sowton with seven, and 52 in Pennsylvania and University.

In Torbay, Shiphay & the Willows, Babbacombe & Plainmoor, Upton & Hele, Chelston, Cockington & Livermead and Clifton & Maidenway all have clusters of three.

In Plymouth, Mutley and Plymstock Elburton have a cluster of three, Honicknowle & Manadon four, Plymstock Hooe & Oreston five, and Keyham seven.

In Cornwall, there is a cluster of three in Newquay East and Penzance North, Penzance Quay, Bodmin North, Illogan & Portreath and St Columb Minor & Porth of four, Redruth North and St Agnes & Mount Hawke of five, Redruth South six, Camborne South of seven, Lanreath, Pelynt & Polraun of nine, Camborne West and Roche & Goss Moor of 11, Camborne East of 14, Kingsand, Antony & Maryfield of 16, and Pool & Illogan Highway of 26.

And while there has been a rise in cases across the region from previous figures, the number of people in hospital with coronavirus has continued to remain relatively low compared to the rest of the country, and has even fallen in the South West.

In the South West, there are currently 33 people in hospital and two on ventilation, compared to 34 and three respectively last Friday. There has not been a hospital death since September 20, and were only three deaths in the South West in hospital in September.

A person walks passed a COVID-19 test centre sign at a new walk-through testing centre (Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

The R Rate for the South West is now being estimated as between 1.1 and 1.4, the same figures as last week, with the ONS survey estimating that 0.08 per cent of the population in the South West would test positive at any one time, up from 0.07 per cent as of last week.

NHS 111 data for both Devon and Cornwall has fallen significantly in the past seven days, with the figures down 50 per cent on last Friday.

In total, Torridge has had 76 positive cases, West Devon 87, with 151 in the South Hams, 168 in North Devon, 249 in Mid Devon, 272 in Teignbridge, 305 in East Devon, 377 in Torbay, 460 in Exeter, 948 in Plymouth and 1397 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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.

The latest available figures show that 10,900 tests (Pillar 2) were carried out in Devon during the week ending 25 September, a significant rise on the 7,600 test carried out during the previous week.

Steve Brown, the Deputy Director for Public Health Devon, said: “The latest numbers show another rise in the number of tests carried out in Devon, and we are hearing fewer reports of delay or having to travel distances to attend a test.

“Overall, the county is still comparably very low down the table for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. We have the immediate increase in cases in Exeter for which there is no evidence of spread within the community, but confirmed cases in our seven other District areas are still low,

“Testing resources in the main are keeping up with demand in Devon, and I ask anyone who is showing symptoms – the high temperature, new and continuous cough, or change in their sense of taste or smell – to self-isolate immediately and book a test.”

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