Devon public health chiefs are urging people who have yet to take up the coronavirus vaccine to go and get jabbed as case rates in the county are above the national average.
Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com
Infection rates over the last few weeks in Devon are the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic, with case rates in Exeter in particular among the highest in the country.
Only Lincoln of the 315 lower tier authority has a higher infection rate than Exeter at present, with Plymouth and Torbay just outside the top ten, with Teignbridge and East Devon district areas also having case rates above the national average.
But while rates in Exeter, Mid Devon, South Hams and Torbay are rising, in East Devon, North Devon, Teignbridge, Torridge and West Devon, they are falling again.
Most Devon cases are among people in their late teens and of young working age population, and the latest data shows that Devon’s weekly case rate average is now above the national average for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
Cases are predominantly in children and younger adults, with the highest case rates in those aged 16 to 24 year olds.
“A lot of it is to be expected, with the gradual lifting of restrictions that we’ve seen over several months, and people having more opportunities to mix socially,” says Devon’s deputy director of public health, Tina Henry.
“A similar pattern is currently seen in many other cities like Exeter with a younger population profile.
“But we’re not seeing that follow through to hospitalisations, although hospitals are very busy right now. That’s largely thanks to the vaccine, which is why it’s so important to take both vaccinations when they’re offered to you.
“We’re now appealing especially to younger adults to make sure that they get double vaccinated.”
While in Devon, 87 per cent of adults have had one Covid vaccine and 74 per cent a second dose, in Exeter, where infection rates are currently at 568.5/100,000, only 78 per cent of adults have had their first dose, and 59 per cent a second dose.
The latest Government figures, which give the position as of Tuesday, August 3, show that across hospital trusts in Devon there were 86 patients in hospital after a positive Covid-19 test.
Derriford Hospital has 42 patients – up from 35 as of the previous Tuesday, with Exeter having 30, up from 27, Torbay up to 12, from 8, but in North Devon, numbers have fallen from 6 to 2. In Cornwall, the number only rose by two, to 23 from 21.
The figures show how many patients are in hospital following a positive test for Covid-19, but not whether they were admitted for Covid-related reasons, whether they were infected inside the hospital, or whether their admission was entirely unrelated but they happened to have Covid at the same time – figures for the South West show on July 27, around 15 per cent of beds were occupied by ‘non-Covid’ patients.