Devon covid rates rise sharply

East Devon cases rise 64% in a week – Owl

Ollie Heptinstall, local democracy reporter 

But hospitalisation and deaths low

Covid infections have risen sharply across much of Devon, with Teignbridge’s rate more than tripling in the past week.

According to data for the week to Wednesday 7 July, Torbay has the region’s highest rate, doubling in a week to 474 cases, a rate of 348 per 100,000 people.

By comparison, the national rate is 312 after another 34,471 cases were recorded across the country.

At district level in Devon, Teignbridge’s rate grew most, with the number of people tessting postive this week more than tripling to 422 (315 per 100,000).

Plymouth’s rate also rose sharply – by more than 150 per cent, with 884 infections recorded in the week, a case rate of 337 per 100,000.

However, the number of infections fell slightly in Exeter and Torridge, the latter of which now has the lowest rate in the south of England at a district level, behind Thanet in Kent and the Isle of Wight.

Elsewhere, West Devon’s rate more than doubled to 117 cases per 100,000, whilst Mid, North and East Devon also recorded significant increases. However, all of these areas remain below the UK average.

Covid in-patients stays low

Despite cases increasing sharply across much of Devon, the number of people in hospital with covid remains very low.

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital confirmed  just three  covid patients according to  latest figures (up to Tuesday 6 July), compared to the peak of 128 patients on 24 November 2020.

Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital currently has seven patients, with none in Torbay. However, Torbay did see two patients with covid admitted on Saturday 3 July, the first since 12 April.

North Devon Hospital is currently caring for one patient who is on a mechanical ventilation bed.

It has now been more than two months since anyone died with covid in Devon. The last confirmed case was on Sunday 9 May.

Steve Brown, director of Public Health Devon, says people should remain cautious even though the prime minister has confirmed that the easing of almost all legal restrictions from  Monday 19 July. Face masks are still be advised in crowded spaces.

“There’s no question about us sitting back and doing nothing,” Mr Brown said. “We need to take personal responsibility, remain cautious, and continue with the efforts we have made so far in helping to stop the spread.”

He added: “I am pleased to hear clarification from our prime minister that the wearing of face coverings in crowded places – which would include public transport and any indoor space where there are other people – is still recommended, despite it no longer being a legal requirement.”

Jabs clocking up

The number of adults aged 18 or over who have received at least one dose of a vaccine has increased to almost 86 per cent in the Devon County Council area, 84 per cent  in Torbay and 81.2 per cent in Plymouth.

The proportion of people who are now fully vaccinated with both jabs is now 67 per cent in Devon, 70 per cent in Torbay and 61 per cent in Plymouth.