Covid cases fall across Devon as remaining restrictions are removed

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 12:00 pm
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Covid cases have again fallen across Devon, as the last remaining restrictions are removed.

Figures for the week to last Thursday [24 February] show the rate in Plymouth fell by 40 per cent, a third in Torbay and just under 30 per cent in the Devon County Council area.

The across-the-board drops means the county is beginning to catch up with the national fall in cases. The UK average is now 379 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 401 in Torbay, 405 in Plymouth and 427 in the county council area.

At district level, all council areas recorded falls of over 20 per cent in the past week. North Devon had the biggest drop of 38 per cent, followed by Exeter and Teignbridge.

The figures mean Torridge remains the least prevalent area for the virus in Devon – after once being one of the most infectious areas in the country for covid – at 266 cases per 100,000. East Devon has the highest rate of 527.

Despite cases continuing to fall, Tina Henry, Devon’s deputy director of public health, warned on Friday that the pandemic is not over.

Her comments came after England’s covid

restrictions ended last week, including the legal requirement for people with covid to self-isolate. Free mass testing will end on 1 April.

Ms Henry said: ‘The Office for National Statistics has said that around one in every 20 people have coronavirus, and in Devon, we know that our case rates are still high.

‘They are falling, but for us to ensure that carries on, we must continue to do all we can to protect ourselves and those around us.

‘There are real concerns, especially among people who are vulnerable and who may yet get seriously unwell if they catch coronavirus, about the removal of the legal requirement to self-isolate.

‘For them, and for everyone, it’s really important that people with covid-19 symptoms – the high temperature, cough or change to their usual sense of smell or taste – or who test positive for coronavirus, continue to self-isolate if they can, to prevent them from spreading it to others.

‘It’s exactly the same as for many other infectious diseases.

‘Just because it’s no longer legally required, the advice for now is still to isolate for five days followed by two negative tests, and this will be reviewed in the coming weeks.’

As of the most recent government data from Tuesday (February 22) 150 patients with covid were in Devon’s hospitals, a reduction of 21 from a week ago. The biggest number – 73 – are being treated in Plymouth.

Elsewhere, 41 patients were at the RD&E in Exeter, 16 in Torbay, 12 in North Devon and eight in Devon Partnership mental health trust sites. Of the total, only one person was in intensive care with covid.

Eleven more people died in the county within 28 days of testing positive for covid in the latest complete weekly period (up to Thursday 24 February). Five were in the Devon County Council area, three in Torbay and three in Plymouth.

A total of 1,633 people in Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) have died within 28 days of a positive test since the pandemic began (as of 28 February).

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.

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