Devon and Cornwall Covid cases remain low

The number of new coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall in the last week was the second lowest since the start of September – with the majority of cases in age groups yet to be vaccinated.

Daniel Clark http://www.devonlive.com

A total of 132 new cases were confirmed across the two counties in the last week – with the total since the start of the pandemic at 48,419 – but slightly up on the total from the previous week which only covered six days due to a day when a net negative was recorded due to false positives being removed.

The 132 though is still the second lowest weekly total since 154 were recorded in the week of September 6-12. The week of August 30-September 5 was the last time the total was lower, when 96 cases were recorded.

Only one case in anyone aged 80 or over was recorded, with more than half of the areas of the two counties not seeing any cases in the over 60s either.

Infection rates in Cornwall and Torbay are in the bottom ten in England, with Plymouth and Devon also well below the national average.

Government stats show that 132 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 108 new cases confirmed last week, albeit only covering six days.

Of the 132 new cases confirmed since May 21, 16 were in Cornwall, 7 in East Devon, 18 in Exeter, 9 in Mid Devon, 7 in North Devon, 24 in Plymouth, 18 in South Hams, 11 in Teignbridge, 13 in Torbay, 8 in Torridge and 1 in West Devon.

This compares to the 108 new cases confirmed between May 15-21, of which 26 were in Cornwall, 5 in East Devon, 11 in Exeter, 4 in Mid Devon, 6 in North Devon, 14 in Plymouth, 19 in South Hams, 13 in Teignbridge, 4 in Torbay, 2 in Torridge, and 4 in West Devon.

Despite the total for this week carry seven not six days’ worth of data, the number of new cases in Cornwall, the South Hams, Teignbridge and West Devon are down week on week.

Infection rates are highest in the 0-19s across Devon and Cornwall – although lower than they were a month ago – while only one person – someone in their 90s in North Devon – of those aged 80+ tested positive in the most recent week.

Six of the 11 areas over the two counties also saw no positive cases in those aged 60-79 either, while in East Devon, no-one over the age of 29 tested positive in the last week.

At a district level, infection rates in East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams and West Devon are highest in the 0-19s, with Torbay, Plymouth, Exeter and Teignbridge in the 20-39s – the groups least likely to have been vaccinated and most likely to be mixing.

In Torridge, the 40-59s had the highest infection rate, but this consists of one person aged 40-44 and one aged 50-54, the only two cases from the relevant seven day period for specimens.

No cases in the 0-19s in Torridge, in 20-39s in Torridge and West Devon, 40-59s in East Devon and West Devon, 60-79s in Torbay, East Devon, Mid Devon, the South Hams, Torridge and Teignbridge, and over 80s in everywhere across Devon and Cornwall but North Devon with its one case were recorded from specimens from May 16-22.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon said: “We have a low coronavirus case rate across Devon, and that is thanks to the effort everyone continues to put in to complying with the restrictions and following the guidance around regular asymptomatic testing, social distancing, hand washing and wearing a face covering when required.

“We need to be cautious though, because outbreaks can and do still happen and when numbers are low, even a small rise can cause a big jump the case rate.

“There’s a spike in cases in the South Hams at the moment because of a small outbreak in a school. It’s being well managed by the school and our public health team.

“Although the number of cases in the rest of the South Hams is still comparatively low and all other cases in the area are single positive cases, it highlights the importance of continuing to take care as restrictions ease to reduce the risk of catching or transmitting the virus as much as possible.”

He added: “Make testing part of your regular week. Build it into a routine, and use the lateral flow device tests as well when you know you’re likely to be meeting up with friends or family. These tests are so fast now that you will have your result and peace of mind in half an hour. If it comes back positive, then you’ll prevent others from catching it by staying home and arranging a confirmatory test.”

Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, South Hams District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The pandemic is not over yet and we can’t be complacent. We need to work together and continue to support our communities by being cautious and following the rules. It’s the only way we’ll continue to make progress and keep restrictions lifting.”

It comes as there are now just three patients in hospitals in Devon and Cornwall following a positive Covid-19 test, figures giving the position as of Tuesday show.

There have been no patients in hospital in North Devon since April 3, while Torbay Hospital has been free of patients since April 13 – the only day since March 30 it housed a patient.

Derriford Hospital is also once again free of Covid-19 patients after the patient who was admitted on May 14 left the hospital on May 20, while the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital also has one patient, the lowest for the Trust since October 8, with September 11 the last time it was free of Covid.

There are two patients in hospital in Cornwall, the same as the previous week, with one of them in a mechanical ventilation bed.

In terms of hospital deaths, there have been none in any of Devon and Cornwall’s hospitals in the last seven days, although there was a death at the Royal Cornwall Trust on May 19 – the first in any hospital since April 29.

In terms of the latest MSOA cluster maps, that cover the period of specimen dates between May 17-23, there are 219 areas of Devon and Cornwall with between 0-2 cases, with only 11 areas reporting three or more cases.

The MSOA areas with clusters of three or more cases are Chillington, Torcross & Stoke Fleming (9) South Molton and Keyham (both 4), and Helston, Tamerton Foliot, St Budeaux, Cullompton, Heavitree West & Polsloe, Ogwell, Mile End & Teigngrace, Marldon, Stoke Gabriel & Kingswear, Loddiswell & Dartington (all 3)

No area of East Devon, Torridge, West Devon or the Isles of Scilly reported more than 3 cases.

It comes as nearly three quarters of adults in Devon and Cornwall have had their first Covid-19 vaccine, with nearly half having had both doses.

The statistics, which provide the position as of May 26, show that there have been 1,169,431 vaccines delivered in Devon, with 755,614 being a first dose, and 521,861 being a second dose.

In Cornwall, 357,562 people have had a first dose, with a further 252,361 having had a second dose. Across Devon and Cornwall, around 73 per cent of adults have had their first dose, with around 50 per cent having had a second dose.

The latest figures on the coronavirus dashboard, which calculate the total percentage of people aged 18 and over who have received a Covid-19 vaccination, are based on those who have an NHS number and currently are alive. The denominator used is the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS) database.

Of this adult population, 72.8 per cent in Cornwall, 77.9 per cent in East Devon, 58.5 per cent in Exeter, 74.8 per cent in Mid Devon, 75 per cent in North Devon, 66.6 per cent in Plymouth, 75.6 per cent in South Hams, 76.9 per cent in Teignbridge, 74.5 per cent in Torbay, 77.2 per cent in Torridge, and 79.1 per cent in West Devon, have had one dose.

And of this adult population, 51.4 per cent in Cornwall, 54.9 per cent in East Devon, 37.4 per cent in Exeter, 49.1 per cent in Mid Devon, 53 per cent in North Devon, 43.2 per cent in Plymouth, 52.3 per cent in South Hams, 51.7 per in Teignbridge, 57.7 per cent in Torbay, 55.2 per cent in Torridge and 59.4 per cent in West Devon, have had a second dose.

West Devon’s 59.4 per cent for a second dose is the second highest of any region in England, with only Wyre having a higher figure, with Torbay having the fourth highest percentage

The impact of England moving out of step 3 of lockdown on Monday would have begun to be seen in the new positive cases figures from the start of this week due to the lag between infection, symptoms, testing and positive results.

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