Covid figures continue to fall throughout most of Devon and remain well below the national average – although East Devon has reported an increase in cases.
In the week up to Sunday 19 September, the average rate of infection across all of Devon’s councils was 265 per 100,000 people, down from 295 the week before.
In the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay, the most recent stats show an infection rate of 233 per 100,000 a fall of 20 from the previous week.
In contrast, the average infection rate across the country is 313 per 100,000 of the population. However, this, too, has dropped from 337 the previous week.
The only council areas to report a rise in cases in the county were East Devon and West Devon.
The former recorded 356 cases, 14 [or four per cent] more than the previous week. The infection rate in East Devon is now 240 per 100,000 people.
West Devon’s cases spiked, with 152 new infections, 42 [or 38 per cent] more than the previous week. The case rate in the district is now 271 per 100,000 of the population.
Mid Devon now has the lowest infection rate in the county, with 168 per 100,000 of the population infected. Cases in the district dropped by almost a third (30 per cent) – 55 cases – in the most recent weekly data. The area recorded 152 new cases.
Plymouth registered 747 new cases, 77 [or nine per cent] fewer than in the previous week. The rate of infection in the city is now 284 per 100,000 of the population.
It was similar in Torbay. Its 392 new cases (288 per 100,000 of the population) is a nine per cent drop on the previous week.
High infection rates in August meant both Devon and Cornwall were given extra support – called ‘enhanced status’ for five weeks. It means extra testing and measures such as making children at secondary school or college continuing to have to wear face coverings in communal areas.
However, it was announced this week that special measures to combat rising numbers of covid cases in Devon are unlikely to be extended. Devon County Council’s director of public health says it is unlikely Devon’s status as a coronavirus enhanced response area will continue into October.
Nevertheless, fears remain that cases could rise this winter, with the potential of some restrictions being reimposed.
The decline in infection rates in Devon has continued to translate into a reduction in people being admitted to hospital with covid. The latest figures [to Tuesday 21 September] show that across Devon, 98 people are in hospital as a result of covid, 30 fewer than the previous week.
Of these, 12 patients are at Derriford, 28 are at the RD&E, 16 in Torbay, while 12 are being cared for at North Devon District Hospital.
Ten of the patients in hospital with covid are on mechanical ventilation beds, down from 14.
Deaths have fallen in Devon in the most recent seven-day period (up to and including Sunday 19 September). Fifteen people died within 28 days of a positive covid test, 14 fewer than the previous week.
Eleven people died in the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay. In Plymouth, three people lost their lives with covid, whilst one death was recorded in Torbay.
The total number of people in Devon who have died of covid since the pandemic began is now 1,198.
Eighty-seven per cent of people aged 16 and above have had their first dose of a vaccine in the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay, with 82 per cent receiving both doses.
In Plymouth, 84 percent have had one dose, while 77 per cent have had both.
In Torbay, 86 per cent have received one dose, while 79 per cent have had both jabs.
This means that vaccination rates in Devon are slightly behind the rest of the UK. Ninety per cent of people aged 16 and above have had one dose, while 82 per cent have had both jabs.
The UK’s vaccination drive will continue this autumn winter as the NHS starts rolling out booster shots to the over-50s, younger adults with health conditions and frontline health and care workers.
There was yet another big moment for Margaret Keenan, 91, from Coventry this week as she received her first vaccine booster shot. Ms Keenan became the first person in the world to have a Pfizer jab when she received the vaccine in December of last year. The first man to receive a covid jab, William Shakespeare, has since died, but did not have covid.