Covid cases for Devon and Cornwall tops 5,000 as infections rise

See the devonlive article for charts and full tabulation of infection rates.

Daniel Clark

More than 5,000 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed across Devon and Cornwall in the previous seven days – with rises everywhere.

A total of 5,120 new cases new cases were confirmed across the two counties – the highest weekly total so far (although comparisons with the spring cannot be made due to lack of testing) – as the total for the two counties rises over 30,000.

Cases have risen in every single region of Devon and Cornwall – but despite the rises, Devon at upper tier level has the 3 lowest infection rate, while at lower tier level, all ten areas of Devon are in the bottom 15 of the 315 nationwide.

The figures cover the period by which infection caught over the Christmas period would appear in the cases statistics.

Government statistics show that 5,120 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 3,287 new cases confirmed last week.

Of the 5,120 cases confirmed since January 1, 2,212 are in Cornwall, with 379 in East Devon, 405 in Exeter, 255 in Mid Devon, 147 in North Devon, 710 in Plymouth, 202 in the South Hams, 312 in Teignbridge, 310 in Torbay, 100 in Torridge and 88 in West Devon.

This compares to the 3,287 cases confirmed between December 26 and January 1, of which 1371 were in Cornwall, with 213 in East Devon, 252 in Exeter, 155 in Mid Devon, 122 in North Devon, 657 in Plymouth, 120 in the South Hams, 170 in Teignbridge, 112 in Torbay, 60 in Torridge and 55 in West Devon

By specimen date, cases are rising everywhere, although the rises in North Devon and West Devon are very slight.

Of the 3,243 cases with a specimen date between January 1 and 7, there were 1,043 in Cornwall, 291 in East Devon, 301 in Exeter, 180 in Mid Devon, 94 in North Devon, 570 in Plymouth, 169 in South Hams, 239 in Teignbridge, 236 in Torbay, 63 in Torridge and 59 in West Devon.

The latest positivity rates for tests carried out at 9.3% in Cornwall, 5.8% in East Devon, 8.9% in Exeter, 8.6% in Mid Devon, 4.5% in North Devon, 6.3% in Plymouth, 7.3% in the South Hams, 5.6% in Teignbridge, 4.1% in Torbay, 3.6% in Torridge and 4.7% in West Devon. Rates have risen everywhere but North Devon, West Devon and Plymouth.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 264 patients in hospital across Devon and Cornwall following a positive Covid-19 test, with 96 patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (up from 82 as of Dec 30), 26 at the Nightingale (up from 21), 20 at Torbay Hospital (up from 13), 47 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (up from 34), 18 at North Devon District Hospital (down from 29), and 57 in Cornwall (up from 40), although not all patients are local given some have been transferred to the region from elsewhere.

There were 14 patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds, with six at Derriford Hospital, one at Torbay, two at the RD&E, two in North Devon, and three in Cornwall.

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 the last week, there have been 31 deaths within hospitals in Devon and Cornwall within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 death, with 15 in Exeter, six in North Devon, five in Plymouth, four in Cornwall and one in Torbay.

In terms of the latest MSOA cluster maps, that cover the period of specimen dates between December 28 and January 3, there are only five areas of Devon and Cornwall with between 0-2 cases – they are Looe & Polperro, Poppleford, Otterton & Woodbury, Shebbear, Cookworthy & Broadheath, Bere Alston, Buckland Monachorum & Yelverton, and the Isles of Scilly.

The MSOA areas in each region with the highest number of cases are Newquay West and Newquay East (68), Cranbrook, Broadclyst & Stoke Canon (36), St Thomas West (46), Cullompton (53), Roundswell & Landkey (20), Millbay & Stonehouse (37), South Brent & Cornwood (37), Starcross & Exminster (26), Chelston, Cockington & Livermead (24), Bideford South & East (19), and Tavistock (20)

In terms of infection rates per age range, everywhere except Exeter, Mid Devon and the South Hams have highest infection rates in the 20-39 age range, but in those three areas, it is in the over 80s.

It comes as Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon (Designate), has pleaded with residents to follow the new national lockdown restrictions.

He said: “While case numbers here in Devon are relatively low compared to many parts of the country, we are still seeing cases rise.

“The new strain of coronavirus is exceptionally good at spreading between people, which is why the government is imposing new national restrictions requiring everyone to stay at home as much as possible and to minimise their time with others, except those in their immediate household or bubble.

“Please, stay at home and only go out when you need to, and minimise your contact with other people. If you must be outside, please continue to follow social distancing rules, wear a face covering in public places, and wash your hands properly and regularly.”

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.