Covid cases have risen in some parts of Devon, following the recent end of national restrictions.
Ollie Heptinstall, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk
Figures for the week to last Thursday [3 March] show the rate in Torbay rose by almost a third, with smaller increases in Plymouth and the Devon County Council area.
All are lower than the 39 per cent national increase in cases last week, but the county remains steadfastly above the UK covid rate. The national average is 388 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 527 in Torbay, 440 in Plymouth and 435 in the county council area.
At district level, the biggest increases were in Torridge and North Devon – both with over 15 per cent more cases. Elsewhere the picture is largely stable, with small fluctuations up or down.
Despite the increase, Torridge remains the least prevalent area for the virus in Devon at 309 cases per 100,000. East Devon still has the highest rate at 519.
The rise in cases comes after all covid restrictions ended in England at the end of February, including the legal requirement to self-isolate with the virus. Free mass testing will stop on Friday 1 April.
However, health bosses in Devon are still encouraging people who have covid to isolate for five days, and then wait until they have two negative tests. This guidance will be reviewed soon.
The most recent government data from Tuesday 1 March, shows 172 patients with covid are in Devon’s hospitals, an increase of 22 from a week ago. The biggest number – 80 – are being treated in Plymouth.
Elsewhere, 60 patients were at the RD&E in Exeter, 19 in Torbay, nine in North Devon and four in Devon Partnership mental health trust sites. Of the total, only one person was in intensive care with covid.
Four more people died in the county within 28 days of testing positive for covid in the latest complete weekly period (up to Wednesday 2 March). Three were in the Devon County Council area and one in Plymouth.
A total of 1,637 people in Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) have died within 28 days of a positive test since the pandemic began (as of 6 March).
The number of people aged over 12 who have received their booster (third) covid vaccination is 71 per cent in the Devon County Council area, 66 per cent in Torbay and 61 per cent in Plymouth.
Take-up for at least one dose of a vaccine is 89 per cent in the Devon County Council area, 86 per cent in Torbay and 85 per cent in Plymouth.
The proportion of people who have had two jabs is 84 per cent in Devon, 82 per cent in Torbay and 80 per cent in Plymouth.
The national rates are 92, 85 and 67 per cent respectively.