Posted: 13.07.21 at 09:38 by Francesca Evans
COVID infections have risen sharply across much of Devon, with residents told they now have to take personal responsibility to stop the spread.
According to data for the week to Wednesday, July 7, 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 the most, with the number of people testing positive last 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.
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, July 6), compared to the peak of 128 patients on November 24 2020.
Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital currently has seven patients, and there is none in Torbay. However, Torbay did see two patients with COVID admitted on Saturday, July 3 – the first since April 12 – who have since been discharged.
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-19 in Devon, the last being on Sunday, May 9.
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 will go ahead on Monday, July 19, although face masks are still be recommended in crowded spaces.
“We’re moving to a new chapter in the management of the pandemic, where we are no longer instructed by regulation to follow rules, and instead we are encouraged to be personally responsible for our own actions,” he said.
“There’s no question about us sitting back and doing nothing. We need to take personal responsibility, remain cautious, and continue with the efforts we have made so far in helping to stop the spread.
“Personal responsibility is about doing the right thing. It’s about respecting others around us, and behaving in ways that protect them and ourselves from the risk of coronavirus.”
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.”
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.
In line with the wider picture across Devon, coronavirus cases in the Seaton area are also increasing.
In the seven-day period up until July 7, there were 30 confirmed cases in Seaton, an increase of 14 on the previous week.
Figures for surrounding areas were as follows:
Axminster – 14 (increase of 8)
Kilmington, Colyton & Uplyme – 19 (increase of 11)
Lyme Regis, Charmouth & Marshwood Vale – 10 (increase of 5)
Sidbury, Offwell & Beer – 8 (decrease of 1)
Sidmouth Town – 6 (increase of 1)
Sidmouth Sidford – 9 (increase of 3)
Honiton South & West – 21 (increase of 16)
Honiton North & East – 17 (increase of 15)
Dunkeswell, Upottery & Stockland – 10 (increase of 7)
Chard West – fewer than three cases (in small areas where there are fewer than three cases, full data is not given as to protect the identity of individuals)
Chard North & East – 8 (no change from previous week)
Tatworth & Combe St Nicholas – 8 (decrease of 4)
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