Covid cases spike in area of East Devon – care home the cause?

Cases of coronavirus have quickly risen in an area of East Devon – primarily in the over 85s.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com 

Infection rates in East Devon rose from a low of 33.5/100,000 – the lowest since the end of September – on Saturday, to 45.8/100,000 on Sunday, when cases dated March 2 were added to the data.

The rise is down to what appears to be an outbreak in a care home in the Sidbury, Offwell and Beer area, with the MSOA area reporting 34 cases in the seven day period between February 24 and March 2 – with 29 of them attributed to March 2.

Infection rates in the oldest age groups also rose at the same time – going from 187/100,000 on Saturday to 562/100,000 on Sunday in the over 90s, and from 118/100,000 to 380/100,000 in the 85-89s, with smaller rises also seen in the 80-84s and 75-79s. In the week up to March 2, there were no positive cases in East Devon for anyone under the age of 14.

Government MSOA map of infection rates for the Sidbury, Offwell and Beer area

Government MSOA map of infection rates for the Sidbury, Offwell and Beer area

As no area other than Sidbury, Offwell and Beer saw a rise in their figures when March 2 specimens were added, the rise in both infection rates and in the age range infection rates are likely linked.

A care home outbreak in the area the most likely explanation for the rise.

A spokesman for Public Health Devon said: “There is currently a rise in new cases in the Sidbury, Offwell and Beer area of East Devon, and the majority of them are linked to a single setting.

“We and Public Health England are working closely with that setting to ensure that all reasonable measures are in place and appropriate action is taken to ensure everyone’s ongoing safety, and to prevent spread of infections. Controls are in place and there is no current evidence of wider community spread.”

However, despite the spike in cases in East Devon, the district’s infection rate is still in the bottom third in England, sitting 207 th of the 315 local authority areas.

Across the rest of Devon, Exeter has the 279 th highest infection rate, Mid Devon 292 nd lowest, Torbay 298 th , Teignbridge 305 th , Torridge 309 th , West Devon 313 th , North Devon 314 th and South Hams 315 th and the lowest in England.

At an upper tier level, only the Isle of Wight and Cornwall have a lowest infection rate than Devon, with the 22.4/100,000 the lowest since the end of September.

In the week leading up to March 2 in Devon, only one person aged 65-69 tested positive for Covid-19, while there were 0 positive cases in the 5-9 age group.

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